May 3, 2020, Sunday
“Seeds of faith are always within us. sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.”Susan Taylor
Around the globe, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase. Other countries have implemented total lockdown in their region to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. However, some countries are currently hesitating to implement the lockdown measures due to its potential effects on the economy. It is one of our dilemmas as we encounter the coronavirus pandemic, yet it is a good option in reducing its transmission.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health registered 364 new COVID-19 cases with five additional deaths and 73 recoveries. It brings to a total record of 4,983 cases with 38 fatalities and 1,776 recovered cases. Within the new cases, 14 are related to travel to the United Kingdom, 346 had contact with confirmed cases, and two are under investigation. Currently, 3,169 patients are undergoing treatment, while 29 cases are critical, and 43 are stable. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
The arrival of Medical Equipment from China
The Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) affirmed that their purchased respirators and personal protective gear from China successfully arrived. It also includes the medical devices and kits, which will be used for the Ministry of Health. It is a part of their implemented program as an emergency response against the transmission of the coronavirus.
The Deputy Director-General for Back-up programs, Dr. Amani Al-Bedah, said that they managed to import 170 respirators and many medical protective gear for our healthcare frontliners. This week, they will expect more planeloads of the medical equipment to arrive. As it aims to upgrade and improve the country’s national health system, the KFAS allotted KD five million, which is equivalent to USD 16.5 million for the purchase of the essential medical equipment and items. Two more planeloads of medical supplies will arrive to better equip our frontline personnel against the threat of COVID-19 disease. Declared since the middle of March, the emergency response program of KFAS is one of the main national programs to back the efforts of our government.
The medical equipment purchased from China arrived at night through the Kuwaiti Air Force plane. The arrival became successful through the Ministry of Health and the Kuwait Foundation’s joint cooperation efforts for the Advancement of Sciences.
It is a good thing that Kuwait coordinated with China in availing sufficient medical supplies and equipment for the country’s fight against coronavirus. I am grateful to the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) for their generosity. With this, our beloved frontliners can improve their health services for COVID-19 patients.
Continuous Repatriation of Kuwait Citizens
The authorities reported that about 1,003 Kuwait citizens would return home through four flights today. It includes a flight from the country of the United States of America. I am glad that more Kuwait citizens can return home as they unite happily with their families. However, they must still undergo proper quarantine and COVID-19 testing protocols to examine their current health conditions.
Unfortunate Incident of a Heroic Filipina Nurse
As our healthcare frontliners continue their fight against the COVID-19 disease, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kuwaiti Nursing Society, Bandar Al-Enazi, announced the death of a Filipino nurse due to the coronavirus infection. He affirmed that one of the nursing personnel died because of the insufficiency of medical care protection and provisions.
COVID-19 disease is very infectious whenever an opportunity arises. Therefore, full protection and prevention methods must be applied to prevent an individual from contracting it. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health will open a comprehensive investigation regarding the unfortunate incident after Chairman Al-Enazi asked it.
The Preventive Health, Nursing, and Ambulance team are currently knowledgeable about the nurse’s condition after staying in the nurses’ residence for more than three days. Everyone on the team knew of her ongoing infection.
I am saddened to know that one of our fellow OFWs succumbed to coronavirus infection. Nevertheless, everyone will consider her as one of the respectable heroes during this critical situation. She served to the patients devotedly even with the high risks of contracting the disease. I will extend my heartfelt condolences to her bereaved family and friends in Kuwait and the Philippines.
COVID-19 Situation in the Country
COVID-19 pandemic affected the many aspects of our life. It includes our livelihood and daily lifestyle. The video below shows the situation on the streets of Kuwait. Since the implementation of a curfew in the country, emptiness replaced the previously heavy traffic on its streets. The lively mood of the city was gone as the threat of the coronavirus spreads across the regions.
Despite the ongoing threat, our brave security officials continue to roam the streets for their daily inspection and implementing the precautionary health measures for the whole community. Kuwait’s labor team is also carrying out its campaign on the labor houses in Amghara. They continue to ensure the compliance of each citizen and residents to it. I much appreciate their unceasing efforts in keeping the country safe and secure amid the coronavirus health crisis.
Even if we are locked in our homes, we should not worry about the governmental and private sectors getting our backs. The Red Crescent Society (KRCS) generously distributed 3,000 Iftar meals in the Mahboula region. Many citizens and residents received their food packs as they lined up in the streets. I thank the KRCS for their prodigious kindness and concern to the community.
Recommendation of Total Ban
As the threat of COVID-19 continues, the Public Health Team have their recommendations as they review the epidemiological situation and research about the coronavirus pandemic. Last April 13, 2020, the Public Health Team submitted the report to the health undersecretary with a recommendation to impose a total comprehensive ban for 14 days in the country. They planned to implement it after the repatriation of Kuwait citizens from various nations will end. They also planned to extend the curfew hours in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID-19 infection in the community. Moreover, they will assess the country’s situation every two weeks to check the implemented measures.
Implementing total lockdown in the country is the best option in containing the spread of the virus. If all citizens and residents are confined within their homes, then the transmission of the virus will be greatly reduced. Many people will be affected by this plan if ever it will be implemented. However, it is our only hope to reduce the rate of the nation’s COVID-19 cases. Today marks the 43rd day of the curfew and 11th day of the Ramadan.
Update of DOLE – AKAP Cash Assistance Program
The Philippine Embassy of Kuwait informed that Overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait that the Central Bank of Kuwait did not approve the continuous release of money from the remittance centers. Therefore, it caused the delay of the monetary distribution of financial assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – AKAP Cash Assistance program.
However, POLO Kuwait decided to give the financial assistance worth of KD 61.500 to the displaced OFWs through house-to-house distribution. One of the OFWs who resides in Salmiya received the cash assistance as POLO-OWWA personnel personally gave it. According to Assistant Labor Attache Cathrine Duladul, the POLO-OWWA personnel distributed cash assistance in the Salmiya, Hawally, Farwaniya, and Mahboula regions. She further advised the DOLE-AKAP applicants to wait for a call or email to check if there are any missing requirements.
The Proposal of Balik-Probinsiya Program
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 295 new COVID-19 cases with four additional deaths and 90 recoveries. It brings to a total record of 9,223 cases with 607 deaths and 1,214 recovered cases.
As the country continues its battle against the coronavirus disease, the Philippine government decided to temporarily stop the flights to and from its airports for one week. According to Presidential Peace Adviser and National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, it aims to decongest its quarantine facilities.
However, the implemented restriction of flights exempts the emergencies while en route; air ambulance and medical supplies flights; cargo flights; maintenance flights and weather mitigation flights. The sweeper flights carrying repatriated foreign nationals will also continue.
Secretary Galvez Jr. said that decongesting the quarantine facilities to protect the people better is its primary goal. Additionally, it will ensure that we can take care of our Overseas Filipino Workers after arriving from abroad. The suspension started at 8:00 am on May 3, 2020. He assured that the new flight restriction is only temporary for one week. Due to that, the affected passengers may rebook their special flights after the imposed restriction.
On the other hand, Senator Cristopher Lawrence “Bong” Go appealed to the government agencies to ensure their preparations for the implementation of the proposed “Balik Probinsya” program. He emphasized the significance of identifying the country’s initiatives for the immediate, medium-term, and long-term phases of the plan.
Within the three phases, the immediate phase is the people’s return after the enhanced community quarantine and medium-term is for those who want to relocate back to their respective provinces. Long-term is for the strengthening of the nation’s economy. The immediate phase will first be implemented to ensure the citizens’ return to their home provinces once the authorities officially lift the travel restrictions.
I hope that the authorities will implement the Balik-Probinsya Program soon. It is very important for us to be able to return home during this crisis. I pray for the safe return of every individual as we face the threat of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kaya bilang mga banal at minamahal na mga pinili ng Dios, dapat kayong maging mapagmalasakit, maganda ang kalooban, mapagpakumbaba, mabait at mapagtiis.”Colosas 3:12 (ASND)
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