CORONAVIRUS:KUWAIT OFW QUARANTINE DAY #33- In Gratitude to our Expatriates

April 13, 2020, Monday

The secret of crisis management is not good vs. evil; it’s preventing the bad from getting worse.

– Andy Gilman

An unfamiliar landscape, a limited social network, and new cultures and languages will almost always take its toll on the ordinary person. This, however, is a daily reality for the many of the OFW’s and expatriates that are currently living in Kuwait and the arrival of a global pandemic has made life even more difficult for the extraordinary men and women who give their blood, sweat, and tears not only to provide essential services to Kuwait but to their families back home as well.

In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 66 new COVID-19 cases with eight additional recoveries, and one further coronavirus death being recorded. This brings to a total tally of 1300 cases with 150 recovered cases and two deaths. Within the new evidence, four were related to travel, with them being 3 cases of Kuwaiti nationals who traveled to the United Kingdom and 1 Kuwaiti citizen who went to Germany. Fifty-one of them had contact with confirmed cases with 1 being a Kuwaiti national, 40 cases of Indian residents, seven instances of Bangladeshi residents, 1 case of a Pakistani resident, 1 Nepali resident, and 1 Egyptian resident. Eleven are currently under investigation with one instance of a Kuwaiti national, 5 Indian residents, 1 Iranian resident, 1 Pakistani resident, 1 Bangladeshi resident, and 2 cases of Egyptian residents. One thousand and ninety-one patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 26 are in the intensive care unit. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased. 

A Thank You to Every Expatriate in Kuwait

Today marks the 33rd day of the quarantine and the 13th day of curfew since then; the Sheikh Duaij Al-Khalifa has spearheaded a new humanitarian initiative to present gift parcels to leaving expatriates. Together with an Egyptian businessman residing in Kuwait and the owner of the Al-Bairaq Company Kamal Mansour “Abu Iyad,” they supervised the preparation of 1500 cartons of various new clothes to every expatriate who wishes to leave the country under the Amnesty Program during the grace period of April 1 until April 30.


Sheikh Duaij Al-Khalifa

In a press release, Sheikh Duaij Al-Khalifa stated that he and his friend Kamal Mansour thought of this act of charity as a way to make everyone realize the importance of unity, compassion, and solidarity, especially during this pandemic. It has always been the tradition of expatriates to bring home gifts and such goods as they return home to their families and loved ones. However, given the current economic disruption brought by the pandemic, which led to most of them being laid off, we have seen fit to ease some of their pain through these gifts.

Kaman Mansour also stated that this initiative was the people of Kuwait’s way of showing the expatriates their thanks for the contributions they have made in helping the country thrive and prosper. I am genuinely thankful for the kindness and generosity that the people of Kuwait have shown us in these trying times. It is not only the proof of a strong friendship between the people of Kuwait and the Filipino community but also a reminder that kindness begets kindness, and we must always strive to be charitable to our neighbors, especially to the ones in need.

In a news conference, His Highness, the Prime Minister of Kuwait, released a statement that he has made the repatriation of the 50,000 Kuwaiti citizens stranded across various parts of the globe due to the pandemic being one of the government’s top priorities. They have already undertaken lengthy discussions and formulated strategies and solutions on how to receive them while also keeping the integrity of the country’s public health intact. The said initiative will take place on April 19, and the repatriated Kuwaitis would then be divided into three separate groups. They would then be subjected to strict and mandatory medical procedures upon their return, such as undergoing swab tests, measuring temperature, and being subjected to institutionalised or home quarantines.

His Highness the Prime Minister the Amir also assured the people of Kuwait that the various sectors of the government, medical and security personnel, and other specialized teams are working round the clock in order to contain the virus. Although the cases of infection seem to be rising, there is no need to worry because the government has made sure to procure and abundance of food and medical supplies.

This Monday, security personnel surrounded a building located in the Farwaniya Area, Block one just behind the governorate building due to the residents being suspected of being infected with the virus. Two ambulances arrived at the scene and transported the two expatriates who were under the suspicion of being infected. Since then, the security patrols have imposed a quarantine on the said building and are currently being isolated from the rest of the city.

Violations During Quarantine

In a press release, this Monday, Ahmadi Governance Deputy Director for Municipality Affairs Fahad Al-Shtaili released a statement that they have already issued the closure of one hundred and fifty stores in the Municipality of Al-Ahmadi for failing to comply with the precautionary health measures set by the government. Furthermore, they have also sent inspectors to release 674 warnings and warrants to shop owners, another 235 various violations, including a formal closure of another 20 stores.


155 Stores Closed in Al-Ahmadi Municipality Due to Quarantine Violations

Furthermore, the Ahmadi Municipality has seized seven mobile groceries, removing 210 violating desert camps and participated in the initiative of the cleaning and sterilization of 251,427 containers of varying sizes, the towing and relocation of 74 unattended vehicles and scrapes, putting stickers on 25 more abandoned vehicles, received seven reports and also issued another ten violations to street vendors.

I thank the Government of Kuwait and its public and private sectors for the excellent care and attention given to both its citizens and expatriates. They provided us with the food and medical supplies necessary to survive during this pandemic, but they have also extended their generosity to the families and loved ones of the expatriates who are well outside the country’s borders.

Updates from the Philippine Embassy

In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 197 new COVID-19 cases with fifteen additional deaths and forty-five recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 4,932 with 315 fatalities and 242 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.

Update of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines on April 13, 2020

In a press release this Monday, the Department of Health released a statement that it has recently launched a new CIOD-19 tracker on its website in order to promote transparency and effectively disseminate information to the public online regarding the COVID-19 status of the Philippines. The

The Philippine Embassy has also released a statement that the Department of Labor and Employment will also be giving a $200 cash assistance to the disenfranchised Filipino expatriates who have lost their jobs in Kuwait due to the pandemic. It features additional information on the epidemiology of COVID-19 in the country, COVID-19 testing, health facilities, and availability of personal protective equipment (PPEs). The public can now view data on the laboratory testing capacities of the DOH accredited laboratories, including the total number of tests and unique individuals tested.

The Department of Health has worked closely with Thinking Machines Data Science Inc. in order to develop this technology. Although the program is still in its infancy, the Health Secretary has expressed his fervent hopes that the tracker will help in the effective dissemination of health facility data regarding the pandemic and also expand the country’s capabilities in combating the virus.


Qualifications for Financial Assistance

In order to apply for the cash assistance, an application form must be filled out online at the website www.polo-kuwait.com, after which a Valid Passport/travel document, proof of employment in Kuwait, a termination letter and a case reference must be submitted in order to be eligible for the cash assistance.

I am genuinely thankful towards the Governments of Kuwait and that of the Philippines the extensive efforts that they have made in looking after the welfare of their citizens, which include their repatriation, and the provision of financial assistance, and food and medical supplies, which have significantly contributed in helping them survive during this crisis. Despite the hardships and challenges brought by the pandemic, which has seriously hampered the authorities’ capabilities in distributing these necessary goods and services, they remain fervent in their desire to be able to help those in need.

Ginawa kong parang isang diamante na lalong matigas kay sa pingkiang bato ang iyong ulo: huwag mo silang katakutan, o manglupaypay man sa kanilang tingin, bagaman sila’y mapanghimagsik na sangbahayan.

Ezekiel 3:9

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Author

  • Gracia Amor, A Multi-Award winner blogger; Presidential Award; Mass Media Advocacy Award, Philippine Expat Blog Award, and Most Outstanding Balikbayan Award. An OFW and Investment Literacy Advocate. Her first book, the Global Filipino Bloggers OFW Edition, reviewed and launched at Philippine Embassy Kuwait. Became a certified Registered Financial Planner of the Philippines (RFP), with specialization in Stock Market. Currently, a position PH stock trader in PSE. Digital Marketing Specialist. A proud founder of Teachers Specialist Org in Kuwait TSOK, Filipino Bloggers in Kuwait FBK. A Poet and a Photo hobbyist in between.

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