April 8, 2020, Wednesday
Times of crisis, of disruption or constructive change, is not only predictable but also desirable. They mean growth. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.– Fyodor Dostoevsky
With the continued rise of COVID-19 infections across the globe, governments worldwide are encountering challenges with containing the virus and the implementation of health and security guidelines as well.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 112 new COVID-19 cases with six additional recoveries. This brings to a total tally of 855 cases with 112 recovered cases. Within the latest cases, one was related to travel, 105 had contact with confirmed cases, and six are under investigation. Seven hundred forty-three patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 21 are in the intensive care unit, with no additional coronavirus death being recorded. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
Combating the Coronavirus Pandemic in Kuwait
Today marks the 28th day of quarantine and the 18th day of curfew and as of now, the Kuwaiti Minister of Health Sheikh Bassel Al-Sabah state that the public health teams in Kuwait are currently doing everything in their capabilities to enforce a more detailed and extensive investigation regarding the COVID-19 hotspots in Kuwait. Although areas in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Farwaniyah Governate, Mahboula, and the Al-Ahmadi Governate have already been put under lockdown, it will still take weeks to contain and implement the proper measures to stem the tide of infections. He also emphasized that Kuwait’s most vulnerable sectors include those expatriates in more densely populated, labor-intensive areas, as they are less responsive to the rules and regulations regarding public health. He also pointed out that there will be a more likely surge of infections in these due to their social habits and living conditions. As such, they have expanded their capabilities regarding COVID-19 tests in order to address these sudden surges.
Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of the public’s cooperation regarding the implementation of preventative measures such as wearing masks and social distancing in addressing the pandemic. He also gave his thanks primarily to the medical front liners and security personnel who are currently at the forefront in this battle against the virus and encouraged everyone’s cooperation in sticking to the health precautions to save the lives of citizens expatriates.
Kuwaiti Minister of Health Sheikh Bassel Al-Sabah also announced the recovery of six more cases infected with the coronavirus, and these individuals will soon ve transferred to the rehabilitation wing of the hospital after undergoing laboratory tests in order to make sure that they have indeed recovered from the virus. The Minister also warned the public to be more careful, especially when going outside since the Ministry of Health discovered that at least fifty percent of the individuals infected with COVID-19 do not show any symptoms.
The Director of Farwaniya Health Area Dr. Muhammad Al-Ajimi released a statement today that the working hours of the medical personnel assigned in the health centers at the North and South Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh will now be working 24/7 in these areas in order to cater to the medical needs of approximately 330,00 people who reside in the area. The two health centers are fully capable of providing support medical services such as nursing, laboratory, pharmacy, dental services, and even general medicine for diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Although I am a bit perplexed with the continuous rise of COVID-19 infections that continue to rise globally, I have full confidence with the government’s ability to address the current crisis in a humane and competent manner. This, however, does not give us leeway to be complacent, for we also have the responsibility not only to ourselves but also to that of our fellow citizens and expatriates. We must continue to be vigilant, observe the necessary health precautions, and, most importantly, stay at home and comply with the quarantine.
Violations during the Quarantine
Today, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Trade and Industry released a statement that it has recently closed down at least seven supermarkets with reasons pertaining to their breach of precautionary health guidelines and regulations and must face the repercussions under the law. Their teams also investigated 80 catering branches and a bakery, which was affiliated with the Kuwait Mills Company in order to ensure the smooth flow of sales and delivery of food to their beneficiaries.
The Ministry also expressed the utmost importance of having supermarkets and other commercial businesses operating during the quarantine to abide by the laws and regulations as they are implemented to ensure the good of everyone. These inspections are also carried out in order to make sure that the prices and services provided by these businesses aren’t inflated.
The Ministry of Interior has also apprehended six individuals who were caught violating the curfew, with five being from the Jahra governate and the sixth being in Farwaniya.
Updates from the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait
We Filipinos have always been part of an interconnected family throughout the globe. As expatriates and immigrants within the countries, we reside in, we must always be mindful of our words and actions. As respectful guests, we must always be respectful of Kuwait’s laws and traditions and also put in mind the context of their religious norms and culture.
On the other hand, the undocumented Filipino expatriates who availed of the amnesty set by the Kuwaiti Government have now boarded a flight on a Boeing 777 and are starting to leave via the Kuwait Airways without paying any fines and also with a free travel ticket. Since then, the fifth flight has departed yesterday with reports from the Ministry of Interior stating that it has allowed the departure of about 1527 residence violators.
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 106 new COVID-19 cases with twelve additional deaths and five recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 3,870 with 182 fatalities and 96 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
In a press release by the Department of Health, they emphasized that individuals who smoke are at a higher risk of getting complications related to COVID-19. This holds, especially for chronic smokers who already have existing cases of lung complications. According to data released by the World Health Organization, “conditions that increase oxygen needs or reduce the ability of the body to use it properly will put patients at higher risk of the consequences of bilateral viral pneumonia.” The simple activity of smoking also involves putting one’s hands near the face and in close proximity with the lips. This increases the likelihood of getting infected since there is a possibility that the cigarettes used are contaminated and thus transmit the virus from the hand to the mouth. This was proven by a New England Journal of Medicine study on clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 in China revealed that smokers comprised more than 25% of those who needed mechanical ventilation and admission to an intensive care unit or died.
With that in mind, I encourage everyone to refrain from these practices because not only is smoking detrimental to our health, it also serves as a potential threat to the safety and health of the public. Our medical professionals, security personnel, and government agencies are currently doing everything in their power in combating this pandemic and never before has so much been owed by so many to so few. However, they can only do so much, and as law-abiding citizens, we must also be proactive in contributing to the welfare of public health. This can be done by something as simple as eating healthy foods, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost our immune system against the virus. We must also continue to abide by the guidelines of this quarantine by staying at home, practicing social distancing, and going out to buy supplies and other necessities on when needed.
I am genuinely grateful towards both Kuwait and Philippine Governments for pooling their efforts and resources towards the successful repatriation of our Filipino brothers and sisters. This strong partnership is proof that despite the challenges that the pandemic has beset us with, we can always achieve anything so long as we work together and set our hearts and minds towards a common goal.
Inyong sabihin sa kanila na matatakuting puso, Kayo’y mangagpakatapang, huwag kayong mangatakot: narito, ang inyong Dios ay pariritong may panghihiganti, may kagantihan ng Dios; siya’y paririto at ililigtas kayo.Isaias 35:4
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