CORONAVIRUS DIARIES Week #50: Partial Curfew and Restrictions

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

– Oprah Winfrey –

 

Today marks the 355th day of our COVID-19 Pandemic journey. With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the State of Kuwait, the Cabinet members decided to impose a partial curfew and implement stricter restrictions to limit the mobility of Kuwaiti citizens and expatriates. With these new protocols, some people are in favor but some are not.

The grounds for implementing the partial curfew and stricter restrictions were based on the COVID-19 case bulletin that the Ministry of Health reports daily to the public for transparency.

Update of COVID-19 Cases in Kuwait as of March 01, 2021

The photo was taken from: Instagram: Kuwait MOH

The Kuwait Ministry of Health (MoH) posted one thousand and one hundred seventy-nine (1,179) new confirmed COVID-19 cases. This brings to the total of 192,031 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The MoH also reported 2 new COVID-19 deaths bringing to a total of 1,085 deaths. However, The MoH positively reported that there are 946 new recoveries from COVID-19. This brings to the total of 180,155 COVID-19 recoveries. As of today’s date, there are 10,791 total active cases in the country, and still hopeful that they will recover from COVID-19.

Compared to last week’s data, there is a slight increase in the daily newly confirmed cases. This may be the justification for imposing new limitations on people’s movement within the state.

 

Partial Curfew

The Stated of Kuwait has been experiencing an increase in daily COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks. Kuwait’s Cabinet has resolved to enforce a partial curfew across all parts of the country for a month, effective Sunday, March 07, from 5:00 PM to 5:00 AM. The decision has been made during an extraordinary meeting held today, Thursday, under the chairmanship of Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. Refer to the infographic below for more information about the partial curfew imposed by the government.

This photo was taken from: Facebook: CGC Kuwait

Highlights of the Cabinet’s Decision

Live Broadcast of Partial Curfew Announcement

This photo was taken from: Facebook: Ayman Mat News

Aside from making a decision on the partial curfew, the Kuwait Cabinet also decided on the following restrictions to be implemented all through the country. On 05 March, Friday, the Cabinet held an extraordinary meeting broadcasted live. You may watch the full broadcast of the announcement here: https://bit.ly/2PlRsqL. The highlight of the decisions are as follows:

 

  1. Extended entry ban for non-Kuwaitis and expatriates
  2. Delivery services of essential businesses are allowed during the curfew
  3. Air Conditioner and elevator maintenance are allowed during the curfew
  4. Travel by foot going to mosque for daily prayer is allowed during the curfew
  5. Dine-in from restaurants and cafes are prohibited
  • Only take-away, drive-thru, and delivery services are allowed during the curfew

6. Only 2 passengers are allowed inside a taxi

7. Public seating areas are closed

8. Public parks and resorts will be closed

 

With the following guidelines issued and implemented by the Kuwaiti government, we must adhere to these for our health safety and protection. These efforts are contributing to lessen the surge of COVID-19 cases by limiting the mobility of the people. Through lessen mobility, people will have less chance to contract the coronavirus. Again, I commend the efforts of the Kuwaiti government on deciding immediately on these restrictions to impede the rise of COVID-19 infection cases.

These restrictions are crucial since the economy is slowly recovering from the loss from last year and we know that we can’t afford to go back to the same situation as last year. So it is a good decision that the Kuwaiti government implemented stringent measures to somehow curb the COVID-19 infections and we will not reach the point again that we will have another lockdown.

 

Kuwait Imposes Partial Curfew from Sunday

This photo was taken from: Facebook: Ayman Mat News

 

Bank Operations

Kuwait Banking Association

This photo was taken from: Facebook: Kuwait Banking Association

 

With the curfew in place from Sunday onwards for a month, the Kuwait Banks Association published a circular specifying local bank working hours beginning on Sunday. Banks will stay open until two o’clock in the afternoon. Banks in Kuwait’s industrial and commercial areas will not be operating during evening hours.

Banks will observe the Cabinet’s policy to reduce the number of workers in the organization to no more than 50% of the total number of employees in the same tower.

 

Residency Transfer is now Opened

Residency Permit

This photo was taken from: The WAU

 

The Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) has expanded the residency transfer window changes between industries, agriculture, herding, fishing, cooperative unions and communities, and the free trade zone until further notice, according to the employer’s permission. The decision was made by the Director General of PAM Ahmad Al-Mousa.

Expatriates employed in government agencies and public institutions, and also those with family visas to work in the private sector, can change their residency until further notice under Article No. 2 of the ruling. As per Article No. 3 of the ruling, transfer of locally employed workers in all industries will be authorized with the consent of the employer and without the requirement of years served, which was previously determined by the period of a year from the date of issuance of the work permit.

Director General Al-Mousa stated that the decision was taken in relation to the needs of the labor market during the current period, and will be executed until further notice in lieu of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it was also stated that “The decision excludes workers of small and medium enterprises and those registered on government contracts. A new decision is on the way, which will allow the workers of small and medium enterprises to transfer within the sector, such that transfer will be from one small project to another similar project after a year of the issuance of the work permit. In the past, it was not allowed to transfer from one small project to another until after three years.”

With the recent decisions of the residency transfer opening, it allows expatriates to change their residency permit. The expatriates are now allowed to change their residence amidst the COVID-19 impact. Truly, the pandemic played a huge role in why some expatriates changed their line of work because they’ve lost their job. With the residency transfer, it gives them proper authorization to work within the industry they’ve employed amidst COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

Bid to recruit Filipino Domestic Workers

Filipina Domestic Worker

This photo was taken from: The National

 

The Kuwaiti and Filipino domestic labor recruitment offices recently held a virtual meeting to address some remaining issues in preparation for the resumption of Filipino domestic worker recruitment in March.

The meeting on March 9 is a deciding factor in the resumption of the recruitment of Filipino domestic workers, as representatives of domestic labor recruitment offices will address the policies that will be implemented when the recruitment process is resumed, including the appointment of a liaison officer between the offices and domestic workers to follow up on contracts and ensure that all employers will follow the rules.

After the framework for enforcing the new regulations has been completed, the door will be opened for new contracts and recruitment from the Philippines in collaboration with the Foreign Affairs Ministry on the “Besalamah” platform, and also the issuance of new visas by the Interior Ministry.

This news brings a bright light to Filipinos who want to apply as domestic workers in the Philippines as new opportunities are paving their way. The efforts of both the Kuwaiti and Philippine governments reflect that the Filipino domestic workers’ welfare was considered first. Also, the meeting reflects that both interests from both countries are being considered. The opportunity to work in Kuwait will help each Filipino worker to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

However, Khaled Al-Dakhnan, head of Union of Domestic Labor Recruitment Bureaus, stated that “Regarding the resumption of the recruitment of new workers, no date has been set for that. However, the matter is imminent, especially since obstacles are being overcome and the problems that prevent this such as the problem of the presence of female workers in the embassy are being solved.”

Moreover, Al-Dakhnan stated clarification regarding financial guarantee for every Filipino domestic worker. Al-Dakhnan insisted that the issue with financial guarantees for all domestic workers was already resolved by denial and that no financial guarantees would be provided for the hiring of Filipino domestic workers.

 

Launching of COVID-19 Vaccine in the Philippines

PH Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign

This photo was taken from: Instagram: Ayman Mat News

 

It was a great start of March in the Philippines as the Department of Health finally launched the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. Last Sunday, 28 February, the country received 600,000 doses of COVID-19 Vaccine donated by its fellow friend, China. Key Cabinet Officials and health workers were among the first to receive a dose of the vaccine. The Department of Health aims to promote confidence with the COVID-19 vaccine along with protecting the health of the country’s health front-liners.

 

DFA funded Repatriation Program for Distressed OFWS

BANNER: The Department of Foreign Affairs warmly welcomes newly arrived distressed Overseas Filipino Workers through Repatriation Program

This photo was taken from: Facebook: Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

 

The 279 repatriates were briefed on health protocols and brought to their hotel facility for the mandatory quarantine after arriving safely via the first DFA-funded chartered flight from Kuwait.

On 05 March, DFA arranged a chartered flight back to the Philippines to pave its way to repatriate 279 distressed Filipinos from Kuwait. All 279 repatriates arrived in good spirits, delighted to be reunited with their long-awaited family. They were all provided a detailed briefing on the necessary health protocols before being escorted to waiting buses which would transport them to a hotel quarantine facility.

“With this repatriation mission, we will continue to bring hope and light to all our kabayan abroad during these trying times,” said the DFA-OUMWA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola.

The initiative of the DFA is such a great gift for our fellow Filipinos because they give them a glimpse of hope upon returning home. Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs never failed to assure distressed OFWs in Kuwait that there’s still hope when they come home to the Philippines. Opportunities are well present when they come back and the DFA will assist them all through to get back on their feet.

 

This photo was taken from: Facebook: Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

 

On 06 March 2021, Kuwait Disabled Sports Club Chair receives an award from Philippine Embassy in Kuwait for its unwavering support to the Filipino community. This includes the ongoing Mobile Passport Service, which enabled Filipinos, particularly those with expiring residence visas, to renew their passports in a larger, more secure place.

The continuous support that was given by the Kuwait Disabled Sports Club is helpful for the Filipino community. It highlights the essence of friendship between the two countries. With the helping hand of each other, we will be able to survive through this pandemic. A little help from each other creates a long-lasting effect on each nation.

To summarize our COVID-19 Update, as of 01 March 2021 Kuwait has a total tally of 192,031 COVID-19 cases, while the Philippines has 578,381 cases. The Department of Health reported 2,037 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases with 89.3% mild cases. The DOH reported additional 86 recoveries that bring to a total of 534,351 recoveries. Unfortunately, they also reported that 4 lives were lost in their battle against COVID-19.

Both countries are continuously enforcing health protocols to stop the spread of the virus. They always remind the public to observe health protocols for their safety despite the easing restrictions. Each one of us should comply with the health protocols imposed by the government because this is for our safety. That’s our contribution to reach the end of this COVID-19 Pandemic, to realize the importance of compliance to health protocols. There’s no room for complacency amidst COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

Coronavirus Briefing

As we enter the month of March, most countries around the globe will start the vaccine rollout. It is a crucial event because this will determine if herd immunity will be achieved as soon as possible. As supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine coming from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson&Johnson are now available and approved by the U.S. FDA, the next crucial step is the distribution of it.

COVID-19 Vaccine Dose

This photo was taken from: Harvard University

 

Enough supplies of doses of COVID-19 vaccine does not end there, it also requires increasing vaccine confidence by the people. The persuasion and administering of the COVID-19 vaccination is a challenge itself. In fact, a recently published article recognized that “motivations, insecurities, fears, and reasons” are among the factors that can lead people not to be vaccinated by the COVID-19 vaccines.

Even there are still challenges in the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, some countries around the world started the inoculation of the said vaccine. In fact, the Philippines were among those countries that began inoculating the vaccine. Key government officials and health workers were the first to receive the dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to increase vaccine confidence among its constituents.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi getting vaccinated by COVID-19 vaccine

This photo was taken from: The BusinessWorld

 

Moreover, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, received its first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to pioneer its new phase of vaccination drive.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine

This photo was taken from: The Bangkok Post

A recent study of the elderly reported that one dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine reduced significantly the risk of COVID-19 infection. The vaccines developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca have been “highly effective” in lowering coronavirus infections and serious illness in the elderly. A single dose of the vaccine is more than 80% helpful in reducing hospitalization three to four weeks after the shot in people over the age of 80.

This recent news gives us hope that if we trust the process of developing an effective COVID-19 vaccine, it will give us a glimpse of hope that the pandemic will near its end.

 

MUST-READ AND SHARE!

My Trusted Page of References for COVID-19 Diaries

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CORONAVIRUS: Kuwait OFW Quarantine Diaries – TABLE OF CONTENTS

CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #48: Kuwait’s Immediate Response against COVID-19

CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #49: Better Days are Coming

 

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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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