CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #17 – The Beautiful Relief of Lifting the Lockdown Measures

CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #17 – The Beautiful Relief of Lifting the Lockdown Measures

July 13, 2020

“At the extremity of hardship comes relief and at the tightening of the chains of trials and tribulations comes ease.”

Boona Mohammed

 The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many governments to enforce lockdown as a preventative method in curbing its rapid spread. Despite the advantages of reducing its transmission, many lives were put at stake as the country’s economy stopped. Work and jobs were suspended as every individual is encouraged to stay within their homes. As normalcy is slowly returned, it is of the great joy of the citizens and residents to lift these lockdown measures in their respective regions. 

In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health recorded 614 new COVID-19 cases with three additional deaths and 746 recoveries. It brings to a total number of 55,508 cases with 393 fatalities and 45,356 recovered cases. Within the new cases, there are 378 Kuwaiti citizens, while 236 are residents of various nationalities. In the governorates, there are 171 cases in Al Ahmadi, 145 in Al Jahra, 134 in Al Farwaniya, 95 in Hawally, and 69 in the Capital. Among the residential areas, Jaber Al Ali is the highest with 26 cases. Currently, 9,759 patients are receiving medical treatment.

 Looking at the chart of COVID-19 cases from July 07, 2020 to July 13, 2020, several fluctuations of the recorded cases and recoveries happened. However, the recovery rate exceeds the documented COVID-19 cases on July 11, 2020. In every passing day, it is proven that the recovery rate can surpass the daily recorded cases. I continue praying to God that more patients can recover from this infectious disease. 

Chart of COVID-19 Cases from July 7, 2020 to July 13, 2020

Online Booking Accreditation of Kuwait Foreign Ministry

 Amidst the circumstances brought by the pandemic, the Kuwait Foreign Ministry established an advanced online booking accreditation. For the people seeking to work transactions and attain accreditation in their papers at the consular department, they can use the appointment booking through the ministry website. To access the ministry website, click here.

 The citizens and residents can get accreditations through these advanced booking of their designated schedule in showing up at the Ministry’s main office. Lastly, they reminded the public that it is only restricted to the main building in Al-Shuwaikh. 

The Inspiring Humanitarian Response of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society

 On July 12, 2020, Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) conducted a distribution of brochures, rugs, personal protective supplies in the Farwaniya Educational Area. As one of the precautionary measures, the mentioned items were given to the employees and visitors to the area. It serves as the KRCS’s efforts in supporting the various state agencies to expand the preventive campaign in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Distribution of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society Team in the Farwaniya Educational Area

Director of Youth and Volunteers Department in the KRCS Dr. Musaed Al-Enezi lauded the Farwaniya Educational Area’s initiated steps in protecting their visitors and employees from the threat of coronavirus. These steps include the distribution of sanitizers and masks, measurement of body temperature, and implementation of physical distancing. With the cooperation of the KRCS team, all these precautions were adequately implemented.

 Director Al-Enezi affirmed that the humanitarian efforts of the KRCS left a significant impact on the hearts of the beneficiaries. In the end, they will always express their significant gratitude and appreciation for society’s invaluable aid. He recognized the vital role of the KRCS volunteers in the society’s distribution of food baskets, preventive health supplies, and daily meals from the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.

KRCS Volunteers in Farwaniya Educational Area

The association also remains keen on adding more volunteers to help their humanitarian aid to the community. Lastly, he lauded Kuwait’s political leaders’ significant efforts in handling the spread of coronavirus in the country as they protected the safety of all citizens and residents.

Distribution of Precautionary Items in Evangelical Church

Amidst the gradual reparation of Kuwait from the coronavirus pandemic, Kuwait’s Red Crescent Society (KRCS) generously distributed precautionary health items to the worshippers in the National Evangelical Church in the country. It includes face masks and sterilizers serving as additional prevention of further transmission of COVID-19 disease.

According to Pastor Emmanuel Ghareeb, the National Evangelical Church offered its brimming support to the country’s officials and local efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. The current difficult circumstances need the cooperation of all public and private institutions in providing the essential commodities of the community. As a humanitarian response, the KRCS dedicated itself to serving the county and the whole world. Pastor Ghareeb much appreciated this dedication.  

KRCS Distribution of Masks and Sanitizers in the National Evangelical Church

Director of Public relations and Information, Khaled Al-Zaid affirmed that the society’s communal initiative continues as they distribute face masks and brochures within the churches. It will help raise awareness and the country’s fight against the pandemic. From the beginning of the outbreak, the society has served significantly in distributing health supplies and food packages to the citizens and residents of the nation.

 Praising the KRCS Humanitarian Activities

The Kuwait Red Crescent Society has been praised significantly by the Belgian Ambassador, Pete Herbet, due to their relief and humanitarian efforts against the threat of COVID-19 disease. The KRCS’s quick response is a huge help in providing necessary assistance to the community. He is notified of all the implemented humanitarian programs of KRCS.

Belgian Ambassador Pete Herbert with KRCS Chairman Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer

Together with the KRCS Chairman Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer, they discussed several issues in relation to enhancing the voluntary and humanitarian work in both countries.  Chairman Dr. Hilal-Sayer affirmed the commitment of KRCS in alleviating the sufferings of the afflicted people. The provision of Kuwait to combat the eCOVID-19 pandemic is the embodiment of the concept of humanity.

Reopening of Health Inspection Centers for Expatriates

As part of the Health Ministry’s efforts in containing the coronavirus, the Ministry will reopen health inspection centers for the expatriate labor on Sunday of July 12, 2020. Online registration for medical inspection is also established for them. According to Public Health Director, Dr. Fahad Al-Ghimlas, the centers’ operation will begin at 30 percent capacity. It is under the implemented first phase with the increase of percent capacity as phases will be shifted.

The registration process includes entering the expatriate’s civil ID information on the Health Ministry’s official website. It will soon be open to the company’s representative, employee’s sponsor, or expatriates. Then, concerned personnel will select the check-up’s destination depending on the applicant’s address or workplace. However, the time will remain optional based on the available schedule.

 For the expatriates’ safety, the Ministry assured everyone that physical distancing is maintained within the four check-up centers. They will be catered through arranging scheduled timeslots with morning and evening sessions throughout the day. It will prevent any formation of crowds, which could lead to further risk of coronavirus transmission.

 As precautions, the visitors are required to wear a facemask and maintain social distancing with other people with a distance of not less than two meters. For the location of the inspection centers, there is Shuwaikh for the Capital and Hawalli governorate, Sabhan for the Farwaniya residents, and Fahaleel for the Ahmadi and Jahra residents. To access the online registration, click here. https://eservices.moh.gov.kw/SPCMS/ExpatAppointmentRequest.aspx

Highest Number of Shops Closure During the Second Phase

 On Saturday of July 11, 2020, Kuwait’s Municipality announced its highest record of shop closures as part of the implemented second phase of lockdown easing. On the latest figures, 122 shops were shut down because they did not pass the health standards and their respective commitment to physical distancing inside their establishment. 

nspection of MOCI Team in Qurain Markets, Egaila and Fahaleel
Inspection of MOCI Team in Qurain and Fahaheel
Continuous Inspection of MOCI Team for Price Monitoring

 Some of these establishments include a famous furniture company at a particular mall and the Friday Market, a large supermarket in the Mirqab region. It was reopened on July 10, 2020, starting from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. According to Municipality Director Ahmad Al-Manfouhi, the health precautions and social distancing rules are not applied in the Friday Market. Therefore, they decided to close the outdoor venue to minimize further risk of coronavirus transmission.

On June 30, 2020, before the implementation of the second phase, they managed to seal off 113 shops. The stringency of Kuwait’s Municipality is evident as it shut down any shops or markets without hesitation if non-compliance is proven. All selling establishments are required to follow the safety precautions issued by the Health Ministry and the Cabinet.

It is reassuring to know that they remain strict on the opening of the shops and markets. It will give the citizens and residents a relief as their safety is assured during their shopping schedules.

 On July 12, 2020, the Kuwait Municipality enforced the closure of 18 shops in the Hawally Governorate for violation of preventive measures. About 133 fines and 565 warnings have been registered by its teams on different shops, hairdressers, grocery shops, restaurants, butchers, markets, and fish shops that fail to comply with the coronavirus-related regulations. As the day goes on, regular inspections are conducted to ensure the compliance of the rules. 

Adaptation of Athletes in the COVID-19 Restrictions

The sports activities in Kuwait officially resumed during the implemented first phase. As the current second phase continues, the Kuwait Sports body affirmed that the athletes undergo rigorous medical testing to ensure their health from the COVID-19 transmission. For the unexamined athletes, they are not permitted to resume their respective training according to Kuwait’s Public Authority for Sports (PAS) Deputy Director-General Saqer Al-Mulla. He urged all sports clubs to comply with the issued guidelines and safety precautions by the Health Ministry.

 The resumption of sports activities was facilitated with rigid health protocols.  The tripartite committee comprising PAS, Kuwait’s Olympic Committee, and Health Ministry enforced strict surveillance measures in its resumption. To ensure the safety of the athletes, they will have to abide by the social distancing guidelines. They must be mindful of the possible risks that every individual or group carries. 

Adaptation of Athletes to COVID-19 Restrictions

 These health measures is a great reminder not only for the athletes but for every citizen and resident. Like the athletes, we must also bear in mind the possible risks of contracting the coronavirus disease every time we expose ourselves in public. Therefore, we must continue to abide by the guidelines to reduce the possibility of transmitting the virus.

Full Swing Preparations of Resumption of Commercial Flights

 The Minister of State for Services Affairs and the Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Mubarak Al-Haris announced an update for commercial flights’ resumption.  He lauded the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for their preparations on its resumption next month. According to the meeting of the DGCA officials, the sector’s preparations are at full swing. At the officials’ meeting, the Minister is briefed about the DGCA’s plan in resuming commercial flight operations.

The Minister with DGCA officials in the Kuwait International Airport

 Minister Al-Haris visited sector to gain updates of its latest developments, professional and technical preparations of the Kuwait International Airport. He added that proper requirements must be met to curb further transmission of COVID-19. It will include the provision of necessary high-quality services to all travelers within the terminals. It will ensure safe operations under the implemented health standards. The Minister emphasizes compliance with all precautionary and protective measures. 

 On the other hand, Kuwait Airways have already applied the precautionary health measures within the premises. Kuwait Airways is the national carrier of the country. In the video, different passengers are wearing face masks as they stroll their bags at the airport. Signboards are also placed within the place to remind the employees and passengers of the preventative practices against COVID-19 disease. 

Youth Conference in Building a Better Future After the Coronavirus Pandemic

 The youth will genuinely be the future of the country. On July 13, 2020, the International Movement for Leisure Activities in Science and Technology (MILSET) officially launched a youth conference with Kuwait’s participation. It is entitled “How to build a better future for the post Coronavirus Period?”

 The MILSET established the conference to discuss the youth’s perspectives in building a better technical, scientific, and medical future through a global perspective. It will serve humanity better and reassure sustainable developments that will protect the global environment. According to the Vice President of MILSET Asia and Head of its Regional Office for Asia, Adnan Al-Maleer, the workshops of the conference will soon be held online in November. It is because of the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vice President Adnan Al-Meer of MILSET Asia

 He said that the conference is organized activity by the MILSET Headquarter. The member states participate in it as they hold online seminars and workshops in their own countries. Papers will be submitted when they will begin their meeting in November. As part of the precautionary health measures, the organizations are committed to following the health directives issued during the quarantine. At that time, they adopted online programs and meetings. It includes the meetings of the heads of regional offices, meetings of members of the MILSET executive committee, and the Youth Conference. The following sessions called the youth’s significance in communicating and learning about the recent developments within the laboratories of the world. 

 It is very awe-inspiring that the MILSET reached out their hands to the youth globally. It is true that that the future of the world comes on how well our growing children can handle the situation affected by the COVID-19 disease. Therefore, it is our duty to educate and provide them with all the necessary materials to make them a capable and reliable individual in repairing the pandemic’s impact.

Weekly Session of Kuwait Cabinet on July 13, 2020

 The Kuwait Cabinet conducted its weekly session through a video conference this Monday of July 13, 2020. Chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, he briefed the Ministers about the instructions focusing on the protection of public funds and combat against corruption. In the meeting, the Minister of Health, Dr. Sheikh Bassel Humoud Al-Sabah, discussed the recent developments of the country’s health condition to the ministers. The updates are based on the current data and statistics of COVID-19 infections within the state.

 The Kuwait Cabinet also followed up the updates on the logistic services and preventive and curative levels of the nation. The Ministerial Coronavirus Emergency Committee affirmed to the Cabinet with the following decisions. They informed the Cabinet about the Minister of Health’s decision No. 103/2020 regarding air travel regulations. It is signed and issued last June 6, 2020. Together with it is the Ministerial Resolution No. 09/2020 of travel through land and seaports. 

 The Cabinet assigned the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Public Authority for Food and Nutrition, and the Kuwait Municipality for the preparation of comprehensive vision, which aims to avoid overcrowding while slaughtering of the sacrifices and its distribution in Eid Al-Adha. They should take into account the imposed health requirements of the Kuwait government. The Cabinet requested the Ministry of Social Affairs establish general instruction to all charitable committees, societies, and concerned sectors for distribution of sacrifices outside the nation. 

Lifting of Friday Prayers Ban at Mosques

 The successful reopening of the mosques within the country provided great hope to all our Muslim brothers as they resume their prayers within the place. After all drastic measures have been taken against the COVID-19 disease, the Kuwait government lifted the ban of Friday prayers at mosques nationwide. It has been four months since the Friday prayers are suspended as a precautionary step in curbing coronavirus transmission.

 According to Undersecretary Fareed Emadi, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs’ implemented decision includes more than 1,000 mosques across the country. The conscientious preparation of these places includes complete sanitization, placing of guiding signboards, and creating measures that ensure the application of social distancing within the worshipping area.

 The entry and exit of our Muslim brothers are organized with signboards indicating each worshipper’s location during the religious ceremony. The authorities instructed the Khatib or preachers to remind the worshippers of the stringent compliance to safety measures such as wearing of facemasks. If any symptoms occur, they are required to stay at home.  For those individuals under quarantine protocols, they are prohibited from entry. An official urged those people with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems to remain at their homes to reduce the possible risks of contracting the virus. 

 The authorities instructed the continuous closure of water fountains and toilets with the regular sanitation of seats and door handles. It is a must for every worshipper to conduct their pre-prayer wash or wudu at their respective homes. Bringing their prayer rug is a requirement, or else entry will be denied. Shaking of hands or close social interactions are much discouraged within the premises. Children below 15-year-old are also prohibited.

 For the prayers conducted in the Grand Mosque, it will still be televised on state TV. Lastly, the official left a warning to all that mosques’ suspension is possible if compliance with all the issued guidelines is not met. 

The COVID-19 Situation in Kuwait

Finally, after three long months of being under the lockdown protocols, the Kuwait government lifted the precautionary measure in all areas except the Farwaniya region. Citizens and residents in Jleeb and Mahboula were overjoyed as they claim their share of freedom and eased restrictions from the implementation of lockdown. It is then that they will begin repairing their respective economy and livelihood as different work and jobs are gradually allowed.

 Being under the stringent protocol is a great struggle for all individuals. Work and jobs are suspended, affecting the livelihood and financial aspect of every working worker. Therefore, it is a great relief and happiness of the residents under the lockdown-free regions as they can slowly return to their normal lives. 

Lifting of Lockdown Measures in All Areas Except Farwaniya
Lifting of Lockdown Measure in Jleeb and Mahboula

What touches me the most during this lifting of lockdown measures is these adorable children who expressed their gratitude to the security. They have performed a brave and inspiring service for everyone’s welfare and safety. Together with them are other individuals who are also grateful to our security frontliners.

 They showed their gratitude through their wide smile on their faces, loud claps, and heart-warming drawings of thanks to them. Gifts were also given to them as a token of appreciation. Our dedicated frontliners accepted these acts of gratitude as they feel the love in their hearts. In this time of the pandemic, being grateful for their service will boost their confidence and sense of duty to protect all citizens and residents. 

Despite the lively lifting of lockdown measures in Jleeb and Mahboula, Farwaniya remains to be under the implementation of lockdown. To further support the citizens and residents in the region, the authorities conducted food distribution in Block Four of Farwaniya.

Because the community still has not recovered entirely from the effects of lockdown measures, many people struggle with hunger as they are running out of money from their pockets. The good thing is that Group Hantik reached out to their hand on July 07, 2020, to the people of Old Souk Salmiya. They successfully gave food to 100 people as part of their humanitarian aid to the community.

Feeding Program of Group Hantik in Old Souk Salmiya

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the country, the Kuwait Manpower Team remains dedicated to conducting campaigns throughout the streets and shops. A video shows the inspiring efforts of their campaign in Safat and Mubarakiya. 

                Today marks the 14th day of the government’s implemented second phase plan. The Kuwait government’s works and decisions are awe-inspiring as they efficiently handle the COVID-19 situation in the country. Even with the continuous increase of cases in the country, the authorities managed to restore their economy gradually.

 As we return to normalcy, let us take the time to reflect on all of our learnings during the implemented lockdown measures. Even if we have encountered hardships and difficult trials, we should not forget to count God’s blessings of ensuring our health safety and welfare in this crisis. At this time, we can appreciate the freedom of lockdown measures that many of us once took granted. 

Reminders and Achievements of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait  Aside from the ongoing threat of coronavirus disease in Kuwait, it is undeniable that the increase in temperature is noticeable once we venture outside our houses. Therefore, in Kuwait, the Philippine Embassy reiterated their reminders to the Filipino community in the country about heatstroke. It is essential to raise awareness about the dangers and preventative measures against it. 

Reminders of Philippine Embassy in Kuwait Against Heat Stroke

 It is with great joy that the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait assisted another set of 300 Overseas Filipino Workers in their return home. Their repatriation was granted with clearance by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines as they reach Manila on July 09, 2020. The Embassy submitted its flight clearance to the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines. 

300 OFWs Returning Home from Kuwait

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait released the list of individuals with official appointments within its office. It includes those scheduled on July 17-18, 2020, for encoding and capturing their passport and on July 19-23, 2020, for passport renewal. For those applicants who are not included in the list, the Embassy advised them to wait for further updates from the official Facebook page of the Embassy. 

List of Individuals with Appointment in July 17 – 23, 2020

“Lumapit kayo sa akin, kayong lahat na nahihirapan at nabibigatan sa inyong pasanin, at bibigyan ko kayo ng kapahingahan.

MATEO 11:28 (ASND)

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