“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.“
– Jimmy Dean-
Today marks the 390th day of our COVID-19 Pandemic journey. The Ramadan period is near as we enter a new month. COVID-19 cases in the country continue to surge. I want to remind everyone to adhere to health protocols so that we will not contract the virus. In this Ramadan season, we must make sacrifices on limiting our unessential mobility. We must continue to pray to our Almighty that the pandemic will soon end.
Curfew hours were modified by the Kuwaiti government as they studied the trend on COVID-19 cases in the country. The Ministry of Health continues to regularly monitor the data so that they can formulate policies that will able to stop the virus from the spread as well as re-opening the economy.
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The Kuwait Ministry of Health (MoH) posted one thousand and three hundred fifty-seven (1,357) new confirmed COVID-19 cases. This brings to the total of 238,549 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The MoH also reported 12 new COVID-19 deaths bringing to a total of 1,365 deaths. However, The MoH positively reported that there are 1,326 new recoveries from COVID-19. This brings to the total of 223,269 COVID-19 recoveries. As of today’s date, there are 13,915 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 significant increase in the daily newly confirmed cases.
Weekly Meeting of Kuwait Cabinet
On 06 April, the Kuwait Cabinet held its weekly meeting to talk about the latest developments on the COVID-19 Pandemic as well as health policies that need to be imposed on the general public to ensure health safety.
The Ministry of Health briefed the ministers on the recent developments in the COVID-19 Pandemic, stressing that infections and virus-related deaths are at an all-time high due to a lack of adherence to government-imposed measures.
Before the secondary school final exams in 2020/21, the Health ministry was charged with supplying the Education ministry with preventive equipment (face masks, sterilizers, disinfectants, and thermometers).
The result of the meeting includes a change on curfew hours from 7 PM to 5 AM starting on 08 April. However, despite changes on curfew hours, dine-in services from restaurants are still not allowed.
However, food deliveries are allowed until 3 AM starting from Ramadan, as Kuwait Municipality Director Ahmad Al-Manfouhi gave orders to change food delivery timing to be from 7 to 3 starting from Ramadan, while they remain until 10 before the holy month.
To be further guided with the changes on curfew hours, kindly refer to the photo below:
Supermarket in Salmiya
Despite the strict implementation of health measures in public places and essential businesses, there are still some shops that are ignoring the threat the coronavirus. Take, for example, the supermarket in Salmiya. It was reported that the said supermarket was continuously violating health protocols. As a consequence, the Kuwait government-imposed fine for their shop.
The picture depicts a supermarket in Salmiya where customers are not observing physical distancing.
With this kind of news, everyone should be reminded to adhere to government-imposed health measures because this is for our safety. Any breach of applying these health measures will compromise the health and safety of everyone. The government is there closely monitoring each business if they comply with the health protocols so that they can ensure everyone’s safety amidst the rise in COVID-19 cases. If they see any violations from these businesses with regards to observing health protocols, they will be fined.
Celebration of Ramadan amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
The holy month of Ramadan is approaching. As we reflect, remember what COVID-19 Pandemic taught us. With so many sacrifices and adjustments done for more than one year, we must be thankful that we are here still alive. Pray for those people who died because of COVID-19. Pray for the end of this pandemic. And pray for all sacrifices made and be grateful.
Many of Kuwait’s distinctive Ramadan rituals, which have been practiced by generations of citizens and residents as a source of comfort and belonging, were affected by the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns and curfews. These customs all involve some form of gathering, particularly at night, but a restriction on gatherings has put an end to them.
Since the holy month of Ramadan is just around the corner, the Kuwait government continuously monitors and talks about policies that will be imposed amidst the COVID-19 surge. The Kuwait government will craft policies on the celebration of Ramadan and at the same time still adhere to health protocols.
Based on the continuously rising number of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait, there was an option proposed to Kuwait officials to implement full lockdown on the last 10 days of Ramadan.
The Kuwait government will closely assess the COVID-19 situation in the country and if the COVID-19 cases and related deaths do not decrease, a total lockdown will likely be implemented.
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In lieu of the celebration of Ramadan amidst COVID-19 Pandemic, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs declared that Taraweeh prayers and Qiyaam in the mosques will be for men only.
Mosques in Kuwait were closed last year, but this year, flocking for supererogatory prayers like Taraweeh and Tahajjud, as well as Eid prayers, is allowed, though health precautions must be observed. Maintaining a safe distance between worshippers, wearing a mask, and carrying one’s prayer rug is among them.
“The decision to allow or prohibit the collection of donations in mosques during Ramadan this year is in the hands of the Ministry of Social Affairs. No decision has been taken by it yet,” the Undersecretary of the Ministry, Farid Emadi stated.
“The ministry is fully prepared for the month o Ramadan by equipping mosques and holding many meetings with the relevant departments to provide and facilitate the mosques with all the needs to ensure the fulfillment of health requirements during the obligatory prayers (Taraweeh and Qiyaam). Unfortunately due to the application of health requirements, prayer halls will not be reserved for men only this year. Women and children will have to pray at their homes, due to the tight absorptive capacity of mosques to fulfill health requirements in terms of space,” Undersecretary Farid Emadi added.
Due to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols agreed by the Cabinet in this regard, Emadi stated that the Grand Mosque will be open this year for Taraweeh prayers and Qiyaam exclusive for men only, and that many prominent readers will lead locally, and that there will be no external hosting of sheikhs, reciters, and preachers.
Though Kuwait implemented a partial curfew a month ago, those who would like to pray at mosques during the curfew hours can do so as long as they walk to the mosque.
Indeed the COVID-19 pandemic has been a blessing in disguise, removing the excessive commercialization of Ramadan seen in recent years and restoring the holy month to what it is – an act of worship, empathy for the less fortunate, and self-discipline.
No COVID-19 outbreak in the prison
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Rumors that 40 prisoners at the central prison had tested positive for COVID-19 were debunked by the Interior Ministry.
Mobile Passport Service at Al-Sahel Sports Club
Good news, mga Kabayan! Philippine Embassy in Kuwait successfully kicked off its first day of its Mobile Passport Service at the air-conditioned gym of the Al-Sahel Sports Club in Abu Halifa Area last 05 April 2021.
Also, the Embassy successfully kicks start accepting passport renewal applicants who secured their appointments via the DFA’s Global Online Appointment System (GOAS).
Mobile services of POLO-OWWA, Pag-IBIG Fund, and SSS Kuwait were also moved to the Al-Sahel Sports Club.
It is such great news that the Embassy finally found a temporary location where its applicants are comfortable because the gym is air-conditioned. Some rants were posted online that the temporary office in Kuwait Disabled Club that people flocked under the sun rays so most of them are uncomfortable.
POLO-OWWA Kuwait advises the general public that POLO services will be available at the Hawally Disabled Sports Club from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM on April 08-10, 2021. Here are the detailed services per date.
April 08, 2021, Thursday – DOLE-AKAP Distribution only
April 09 and 10, Friday and Saturday – DOLE-AKAP Distribution, Contract Verfication for Balik Manggagawa, OWWA membership, SSS and Pag-IBIG Fund.
Please be reminded that only those with approved AKAP application who received a text message, e-mail, or call from POLO will be entertained at the Hawally Disabled Sports Club.
Contract Verification for Balik Manggagawa, OWWA membership, SSS, and Pag-IBIG Fund will continue at Al-Sahel Sports Club in Abu Halifa from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM during weekdays only (Sunday to Thursday).
Fifty distressed OFWs return home to the Philippines
On Thursday afternoon, fifty distressed OFWs from the shelter, including medical cases, were transported under the supervision of POLO and OWWA. Philippine Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa with POLO and OWWA officials and Dadabhai Travels Kuwait representative Paulita Lundang were present during the departure.
Onboard Gulf Air, 43 passengers were from the POLO Shelter, 7 were medical cases, and had lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The repatriation program, which is coordinated with the DOLE, is a continuous service for OFWs who do not have the financial means to pay for airfare and others who are under the supervision of both agencies.
There are currently 167 women in the shelter, and the others have been referred to the Public Authority for Manpower and Deportation (PAMD) or have been sentenced to prison.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait is assisting those with grievances filed by Filipino household staff currently in the shelter such as underpaid, no pay, overwork, physical and verbal violence, not enough food cases, and those with cases such as theft, love cases, and more.
“We have arranged about eight chartered flights during the lockdown period and continuously coordinate with all departments to ensure that OFWs return home safely to the Philippines,” Paulita Lundang said in a brief interview.
The remaining women in the Philippines shelter, both those with and without cases, are currently being handled and will return to the Philippines eventually.
Distribution of Ramadan Baskets
The essence of the holy month of Ramadan is sacrifice and generosity. On 10 April, Al-Salam Charity distributed Ramadan Baskets to fellow Filipino Muslims. The distribution of Ramadan Baskets was made possible through MMEDFI.
The recipient of the Ramadan Baskets showed gratefulness and love to Al-Salam Charity. Surely, the Ramadan Baskets will be a great help for them amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.
To summarize our COVID-19 Update, as of 05 April 2021 Kuwait has a total tally of 238,549 COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the Philippines have 803,398 cases breaching its 800-thousand mark. The Department of Health reported 8,355 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases with 97.5 mild cases. The DOH reported additional 145 recoveries that bring to a total of 646,237 recoveries. Unfortunately, they also reported that 10 lives were lost in their battle against COVID-19.
Both countries are COVID-19 case resurgence because of the spread of the U.K. AND Brazilian coronavirus variant that was initially reported to be highly contagious. Each one of us should comply with the health protocols imposed by the government because this is for our safety. The threat of COVID-19 is real and we should not be complacent about it. There’s no room for complacency amidst COVID-19 Pandemic.
Coronavirus Situation around the world
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The COVID-19 resurgence is not only isolated in our country. In fact, most of the countries around the world are experiencing COVID-19 cases resurgence because of the newly detected U.K and Brazilian variants. In India, recorded over 100,000 new cases in one day for the first time since the pandemic began. India imposed lockdowns and curfews in their country.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh began its weeklong national lockdown after a significant rise in COVID-19 new cases. Argentina also imposed lockdowns and curfews as infections surged and vaccine rollouts were hampered by shortages and scare.
Despite the coronavirus case resurgence, all nations are trying their best to expand their vaccination rollout. In the United States, they are averaging 3 million vaccinations per day since the inoculation started.
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