June 1, 2020
“Law enforcement officers are never “off duty”. They are dedicated public servants who sworn to protect public safety at any time and place that the peace is threatened. They need all the help that they can get.”Barbara Bexer
Many people relished the period of freedom as total lockdown is lifted in many countries. However, the authorities remain wary and cautious, as the battle against COIVD-19 has not ended yet. Therefore, the community must continue vigilant to return to normalcy successfully.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health reported 719 new COVID-19 cases with eight additional deaths and 1,513 recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 27,762 cases with 220 fatalities and 12,899 recovered cases. Within the new cases, 265 are Kuwait citizens, 156 are Indian residents, 104 are Egyptian residents, and 48 are Bangladeshi residents. In the governorates, there are 209 cases in Farwaniya, 184 in Ahmadi, 170 in Jahra, 101 in Hawally, and 55 in the Capital. Among the residential areas, Farwaniya is the highest with 57 cases. Currently, there are 14,463 active cases in the country. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.
Long Queues in Drive-Through
As the government implemented partial curfew, many residents and citizens started going out from their homes. Long queues are evident across the roads, as many people line up in drive-through to buy their coffees and other snacks. Even with the eased restrictions, I am still not confident about the thought that many people are lining up in the drive-through. It can be a good thing for the citizens and residents to venture out of their homes to buy their necessities.
However, it is also their freedom and right to avail of the things that they wanted and needed. As we encounter the COVID-19 pandemic, let us take responsibility for every action we do. We must not forget that the coronavirus is still out there waiting for its next victim. Let us cooperate to prevent its further spread.
Service of the Security Forces
As the country undergoes its first-phase of the implemented plan, a Kuwait police officer clarifies that the people residing in the isolated areas can wander from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm inside the region. However, no one can go out of the place even if he or she has a permit except if the health authorities order it. The isolated areas with high cases of COVID-19 should remain stringent within their protocols. It will help contain the spread of the virus to its nearby regions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior Undersecretary inspected the security checkpoints in the isolated areas. It is to assure the performance of the security officials in performing their assigned duty. I commend the leaders of the security, for they regularly check the service of their constituents.
The Kuwait National Guard (KNG) affirmed the enlisting of the retired volunteers who ended their service in the past. These volunteers would want to use their experiences to help the country fight the COVID-19 crisis. The authorities approved their courageous return to their services with the coordination of the General Department of National Defense at the Ministry of Interior.
KNG Associate for Financial Affairs and Resource Management, Brigadier Riyad Muhammad Tawari, affirmed that they would examine the volunteers through medical tests ensuring their readiness to take their duty and tasks. They will inform new instructions to them for the volunteers to perform their duties competently and efficiently.
As they bravely show their love for the country, Tawari thanked them for extending a helping hand in assisting their fellow brothers. The former KNG members responded and expressed their happiness to be able to join with their brothers and serve the country.
I am deeply touched by the willingness of their volunteers to join the forefront of the country’s battle against the spread of coronavirus. It is undeniably true that we need more frontliners to offer their service to check the implementation of guidelines in the community continually. Without them, it could fall into chaos and disorder.
The situation of Cooperatives and Market
The Kuwait Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced that their assigned inspection teams filed reports against 45 multiple shops. They also shut down another shop for violating the implemented guideline against the spread of coronavirus.
Overall, they monitored 2,938 cooperative societies and shops for compliance in maintaining the right prices of their products. Moreover, they also inspected 1,779 supply shops to verify the smooth delivery of food to the citizens and residents.
The following establishments have their own time of operation for the people who want to shop for vegetables and fruits. For the fruits and vegetable markets, they will open from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm while the Al-Farda market will start from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Another sad news is that 32 employees from the Khaitan Cooperative tested positive.
The Kuwait Flour Mills and Bakeries Company announced its success in securing the availability of food supplies for the consumers during the COVID-19 crisis. They confirmed that the total bread production from March 1, 2020 to May 30, 2020 is 411.5 million loaves of bread. Through this success, the national company’s confidence boosted as they showed their efficiency during the crisis.
The cooperative societies in the country gave significant help in ensuring the availability of the essential commodities to the citizens. Every day, it can be disheartening to hear employees of different cooperatives being infected with the virus. I am thankful to the government for regulating the right prices within these business establishments.
The Al-Muzaini company released an announcement informing all citizens and residents that their branch will remain closed. Following the five-phase plan, their offices will resume its operations in the second stage.
The branches of Al Muzaini branches played a significant role in sending expatriates’ financial income back to their families. In this time of the pandemic, the families in their home country needed their income. Therefore, I hope that the authorities will reconsider their decision or give one week for the expatriates to prepare and send money to their families.
Extension for Expiring Visas
The authorities announced the extension of the validity of residency to the expatriates who are currently outside the country. They extended it from 6 months to 12 months. It is because of the current circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis. They also decided to extend for three months to all types of visit visas. The Ministry of Interior reached this decision to ease the expatriates’ situations, granting them a valid temporary residence for three months from May 31, 2020 to September 31, 2020.
Automatically, the 3-month extension is implemented via the computer system. It includes expatriates who are in Kuwait for residencies and those individuals who entered the country with their visas. Lastly, they do not need to log in as a business owner or sponsor in the Interior Ministry’s website for their residence is automatically renewed for three months.
Today marks the 69th day of the curfew and the 2nd day of the government’s first-phase plan. So far, the citizens and residents are enjoying the given period of freedom with the imposed partial curfew. The efforts of the Kuwait government in maintaining its security forces in the country are commendable. I am confident that this first phase will be a huge success soon.
Successful Flights of the Filipino Repatriates
The Department of Health (DFA) reported 34 new COVID-19 cases with three additional deaths and 16 recoveries. It brings to a total tally of 5,218 cases with 342 fatalities and 2,709 recovered cases. The DFA said that they are actively monitoring the status of the Filipino community abroad for their safe repatriation to home.
In regards to the updates of their repatriation programs, 160 stranded Overseas Filipino Workers, Filipino tourists, and students successfully arrived today after being in Japan. They were stranded for two months due to multiple flight cancellations, prohibitive airfare rebooking costs, and limited airline seat availability.
In addition to that, the DFA successfully arranged the arrival of 175 Filipino repatriates from Kuwait onboard Kuwait Airlines flight KU 1427. They were beneficiaries of the repatriation and amnesty granted by the Kuwait government. Within the group were 14 children, seven infants, and a few expectant mothers.
On their arrival, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) One Stop Shop at the Manila international airports examined them if they are free from COVID-19 infection. Soon, they can safely reunite with their loved ones.
After one long week of waiting, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) approved the Filipino Amnesty grantees’ flight clearance from May 21, 2020. Last night, a flight carrying 200 undocumented Filipinos who applied for the amnesty program in Kuwait took off. The final batch of the amnesty grantees from Kuwait will soon leave on June 3, 2020.
Ambassador Jose Laurel V reassured the Filipinos worldwide of the government’s unceasing support for their well-being. They also continue to provide financial assistance and welfare for the stranded Filipinos.
I thank the Department of Foreign Affairs and the concerned authorities for arranging these repatriation programs to return our fellow Filipinos home. Happiness is evident in their faces as they stepped into the country, knowing that they will be reunited with their families. During this COVID-19 quarantine, we learned how to get closer emotionally with other people even if we are requested to maintain physical distance from each other. As one whole world, we collaborated in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Dahil namumuhay na kayong lahat sa liwanag at hindi sa kadiliman.Kaya nga, huwag tayong maging pabaya katulad ng iba na natutulog, kundi maging handa at mapagpigil sa sarili.”1 Thessalonica 5:5-6 (ASND)
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