CORONAVIRUS: KUWAIT OFW QUARANTINE DAY #81 – The First Break from Total Lockdown

May 31, 2020

“We should cherish every moment with family not in spite of, but because of, these dark times in which we live.”

-Caleb Harden-

As many countries lifted the implementation of total lockdown, many people start to reclaim the restricted freedom due to COVID-19.

In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health confirmed 851 new COVID-19 cases with seven additional deaths and 1,230 recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 27,043 cases, with 212 fatalities and 11,386 recovered cases. Within the new cases, 279 are Kuwait citizens, 165 are Indian residents, 129 are Egyptian residents, and 86 are Bangladeshi residents. In the governorates, there are 279 cases in Farwaniya, 214 in Ahmadi, 139 in Ahmadi, 117 in Hawally, and 102 in the Capital. Among the residential areas, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh is the highest with 84 cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.

“Update of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait on May 31, 2020”

First Day’s Situation of the First Phase

The Kuwait government organized a five-phase plan to implement for the gradual return of the country to normalcy. Today is the first day of the imposed first phase. It is a good thing that the authorities started to lift the total ban. The mood of the city begins to become lively as the economy begins its recovery.

 After the implemented full curfew in the country, citizens and residents are starting to get back into the streets in the morning. It is because employees in public and private sectors begin their service with only 30% of their staff. Normal movement in the streets is evident except for the primary pathways, which experienced traffic congestion after being empty due to the total lockdown in the past days.

“Roads of Kuwait”
“Situation on the Streets at First Day”
“Situation on the Streets of Jahra”
“Reopening of Garages in Shuwaikh”

As the stringent restrictions relaxed, many people took their time to venture out to the beaches and go to the shops, restaurants, and markets to buy their essential commodities before the partial ban starts. Different grocery shops experienced an increase in customers while some people washed their cars at the car wash stations and took it to the auto repair shops. Citizens also went to laundry shops. However, all people maintained social distancing during the period. 

The Ministry of Awqaf and the other concerned ministries began sterilizing the mosques before reopening them for the people. It is a part of the ministry’s preparation following the requirements of the health authorities.

“Preparation of Mosques by Awqaf Ministry”

Health Minister Sheik Bassel Al-Sabah appeals to the citizens and residents not to leave home except for the utmost necessity. In the public areas, one should wear their facemask covering their mouth and nose while maintaining social distancing.  They also urged the people to sterilize or wash their hands regularly. They must even care for the elderly ones, for they are more vulnerable to the disease.

The Municipality affirmed the reopening of the fish, meats, and vegetable markets starting on Monday. However, they require a barcode reservation during their shopping. Social distancing during shopping is maintained.

Reopening of Fish, Meats and Vegetable Markets

Everyone thinks all these precautionary health measures are easy to do. However, many people fail to continue the practice, especially if they are not used to it. The government and the health authorities continue to think of practical ways for them to follow these precautions. As a citizen or resident in the country, it is our utmost duty to comply with the guidelines to prevent the further spread of the virus. It is because even if they lifted the total lockdown, the existence of COVID-19 remains.

Strengthening the Security

Despite the eased restrictions, the authorities managed to deploy the national guards in Khaitan as a part of the security in these isolated areas.

“National Guards in Khaitan”

The security officials started guarding the barricade in the isolated areas. They appealed to the community for their cooperation with the total curfew. In the Farwaniya area, the army started isolating and securing the field under the implemented guidelines of the first phase. The presence of the security and army forces will ensure the compliance of the community to the imposed curfew. It might be frightening seeing these forces with their weapons as they guard the whole area. However, I felt a sense of relief and safety, for I know that they are there for the violators. Compliance with the law is our great responsibility as a citizen and a resident in the country. 

“Security Officers Asking for the Cooperation of the Community”
“Barricades in the Isolated Areas”
“Army securing the entire Farwaniya area”

They also announced to the residents residing in isolated areas with different addresses in their IDs. They will not allow these residents to leave the region.

For smooth passage within the regions, the Ministry of Interior urges them to submit accurate curfew permits. If they wished to visit their doctors in their clinics or hospitals, they could apply for a curfew permit through this link https://curfew.paci.gov.kw with their curfew permit application.

Upon visiting the hospital or clinic, they should show their permit to the employees for verification. If the location registered in the permit does not match with their actual destination, the authorities would question and ban them for future permits.

The Problem of Unpaid Salaries

A group of workers gathered as they expressed their problem of unpaid salaries from their employers. Many people are currently undergoing the same problem. I hope their employers can help them immediately. If not, then the government can provide them assistance as the country starts its first phase plan.

200 US Dollars Financial Assistance

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait released an announcement to the Filipino community about the AKAP 200 US Dollars financial assistance. The office affirmed that due to the total easing of total curfew in the country, they would provide AKAP Financial Assistance to the qualified beneficiaries.

The POLO personnel will call them for the specific date and time of going to POLO to receive their financial assistance for the beneficiaries residing in the areas, not under quarantine. They reminded everyone of their strict appointment basis to the individuals that they called. They will not allow people without appointments to receive financial assistance. The assigned POLO personnel will go to their places to give their financial aid to the beneficiaries residing in areas under lockdown.

 They temporarily stopped the processing of employment contracts for the Balik-manggagawa and new hires, job orders, and accreditation documents until the resumption of flight operations and the complete lifting of the implemented lockdown in Kuwait.

Lastly, for the OFWs who have labor-related problems such as delay or no payment, releasing of passport, and losing of one’s visa, they can message or call 94039063 for assistance. From that, they will coordinate with the sponsor or company to solve their problems.

Announcement of Philippine Overseas Labor office in Kuwait

Today marks the 68th day of the curfew and the 1st day of the first-phase plan of the government. At the beginning of the first phase, the life of the city starts to recover. I have my doubts about lifting the total lockdown despite the increasing number of cases. However, I am relieved as I notice how the government is preparing the security of the isolated areas. I commend the concerned authorities for proper planning to restore the normalcy that all of us longed for during the lockdown.

Huge Spike of OFW COVID-19 cases Abroad

“Update of COVID-19 cases in Philippines on May 31, 2020”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported 2,300 COVID-19 cases with 1,176 recoveries and no fatalities. It brings to a total tally of 5,184 cases with 2,151 recovered cases and 339 deaths. The massive spike of COVID-19 cases reported today is due to the late reports of other countries. They clarified that instead of 390 fatalities as reported yesterday, it decreased to 339 due to the delisting of one death in Europe. The authorities confirmed a patient initially reported dead as a patient undergoing critical condition.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that there is an estimate of 100,000 stranded Overseas Filipino Workers in other countries. Based on the report of the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices from 40 foreign posts, there are 83,483 in the Middle East, 12,050 in Europe and American region, and 3,082 in Asian countries. The reason behind it is because they are affected by implemented lockdown in the host countries and distressed as they seek repatriation programs.

To help them, Labor Undersecretary Claro Arellano said they would provide USD 200 cash assistance under the Abot Kama yang Pagtaulong (AKAP) Program with facemasks, food packs, and medicines. Based on their data, about 66,271 received food and medical relief in the Middle East, 9,403 in Europe and Americas, and 3,637 in Asia and the Pacific. The beneficiaries are 28,179 in Kuwait, followed by Jeddah with 9,358 and Qatar with 7,723 recipients. Lastly, he affirmed that they would continue the intensified campaign to assist all OFWs affected by the pandemic.  

I am thankful that the Philippine government and the concerned authorities are finding ways to help our fellow OFWs, especially those in Kuwait. It is good that many OFWs in Kuwait are registered to the AKAP program. Through the given financial assistance, they will be relieved from their worries. All of us are working to support each other through this pandemic. With that, I have hope that we can get through this crisis together.

“Ang sumasampalataya sa kanya ay hindi hahatulan ng kaparusahan, ngunit ang hindi sumasampalataya ay hinatulan na, dahil hindi siya sumampalataya sa kaisa-isang Anak ng Dios.”

Juan 3:18 ASND

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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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