CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #22 – The Successful Conclusion of the Third Phase

CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #22 – The Successful Conclusion of the Third Phase

August 17, 2020

“COVID-19 will reshape our world. We don’t know yet when the crisis will end. But we can be sure that by the time it does, our world will look very different.”

Joseph Borrell

Every country is on its way to recovery. However, as long as there is no official COVID-19 vaccine, COVID-19 cases will still rise. Hence, many governments gave their efforts to reduce its transmission while saving the country’s economy from the financial crisis.

 In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health reported 622 new COVID-19 cases with one additional death and 498 recoveries. It brings to a total record of 76,827 cases with 502 fatalities and 68,633 recovered cases. As of now, about 7,692 patients are receiving medical treatment, wherein 109 of them are under the intensive care unit. 

Update of COVID-19 Cases in Kuwait on August 10, 2020

During the period of August 11, 2020 to August 17, 2020, we have seen an interchange of the rate of recoveries and reported COVID-19 cases daily. However, the number of cases decreased suddenly on August 15, 2020 until August 16, 2020. Within the week, the highest recorded rate of recoveries occurred on August 15, 2020.

Timeline of Cases from August 11, 2020 to August 17. 2020

The Crucial Role of the Youth Against the Pandemic

Once again, the inspiring youth of Kuwait proved their competence in this time of coronavirus pandemic. According to the Kuwait Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Muhammad Al-Jabri, the works of the Kuwaiti youth astonished the nation’s authorities in taking its responsibility to help many institutions. They offered significant assistance in confronting the coronavirus disease. The ongoing health crisis affected many countries’ economies, which impacted international trade and sustainable development.

The Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Muhammad Al-Jabri

 The youth’s significant contribution includes their professional training to fill in the deficiency of human resources that occurred in some government institutions. They assisted hospitals, cooperative societies, municipal apparatus, the fire department, and other departments. Their active role in distributing food and essential goods in the restricted areas is commended. They also helped the elderly and people with special needs. 

The Kuwait government completely supported the works of the youth in various fields and levels. The Ministry of Minister Al-Jabri is dedicated to helping them achieve their ambitions by implementing several subjects for youth development, both intellectually and scientifically. Furthermore, the Kuwait Cabinet adopted the National Youth Policy, which is managed by the office of the Minister of State for Youth Affairs. 

According to the United Nations Resident Coordination ad. Interim in the State of Kuwait Conrad Lesa, humanity faced different pressing challenges: war, civil unrest, climate change, hunger, and the COVID-19 outbreak. To overcome it, the world needs the participation and engagement of young people. As they played a crucial role in managing the virus outbreak, many young innovators responded to the crisis through social impact innovation.

 From the global perspective, many initiatives are implemented to leverage the youth’s efforts in delivering support to high-risk populations, which is affected by the coronavirus disease. Many youth-driven technology innovation hubs develop effective solutions. In reducing coronavirus transmission, the discipline and compliance of the youth to the WHO’s guidelines are significant. 

The Decision of the Kuwait Cabinet During their Virtual Meeting

On August 13, 2020, the Kuwait Cabinet conducted a virtual meeting led by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. In their session, the Health Minister Sheikh Dr. Basel Al-Sabah informed the ministers about the recent developments of COVID-19 and the country’s current health situation. The responses against the pandemic, as well as the logistic services and preventive measures, were discussed. 

After reviewing several recommendations, the Ministers announced their following decisions. The issuance of all kinds of visas will continue to be banned for all nationalities unless the minister committee on coronavirus gives its approval. They decided to resume football activities starting on August 15, 2020. However, sports activities are permitted without the fans’ presence and compliance with the recommended health precautions.

The guidelines set by the Cabinet Secretariat are finally approved in regards to phase four and five on Kuwait’s restoration to normalcy. Each minister is mandated in the recommended measures under the fourth phase on their respective ministries on August 18, 2020. It assigned the ministerial committee to oversee the compliance of all sectors to the health measures.

Some activities under phase five are already permitted during phase four. It includes a health spa, sporting clubs, tailor shops, and barbershops. In some areas, their partial curfew will soon be revised on August 20, 2020.

The Implemented Decisions of the Council of Ministers

 It is with great joy for many people on the smooth transition of the third phase to the fourth phase. It is a good thing that it was not extended. Despite the continuous increase of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait, its economy is restarting back to life. 

Constant Monitoring of the Kuwait Municipality

The Kuwait authorities carry on their monitoring to all the shops and selling establishments violating the COVID-19 safety measures. The Kuwait Municipality reported on August 16, 2020 that they shut down 14 shops in the country for July. According to the Director of Ahmadi Municipality’s branch Saoud Al-Dabbous, they issued about 128 violations and 280 warnings to markets, groceries, and shops. It is done to encourage all these establishments to adhere to the health measures recommended by the Health Ministry.

Kuwait’s Readiness to Remote Learning

 Despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, education for the students continues to give them a better future. As stated by the Acting Deputy Rector of Kuwait University for Academic Services Dr. Abdullah Al-Motaw’e, a total of 34,459 students participated in the remote learning system since the academic year of 2019 – 2020. These students consist of more than 96 percent of the number of students enrolling in the new educational system.

 For the KU teaching staff, about 1,744 of them joined training courses on how to apply distance education. It confirmed the teaching staff’s preparedness in activating virtual classes for this year’s curricula in all subjects. The virtual classes represent about 98 percent of overall classes. He noted that the KU administrations are currently working on the problems for the remaining percentage.

Weekly Meeting of Kuwait Cabinet

On this Monday, the Kuwait Cabinet held its weekly meeting online led by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. As the meeting began, the Prime Minister reassured the Cabinet Members about the stable health condition of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. His health condition has significantly improved.

The Health Minister Sheikh Dr. Basal Al-Sabah also updated the Cabinet on the country’s current health situation and the pandemic developments. As the fourth phase of Kuwait’s plan to normalcy will begin on August 18, 2020, the Cabinet urged all the residents and citizens to comply with the health measures. 

Precautionary Measures in Barbershops and Salons
Regulations in Tailoring and Workshops During the First Phase
Precautionary Measures in Public Transport

The New Residency Bill for the Country’s Expatriates

It is reported that a new residency bill is drafted for the expatriates endorsed by the Kuwait government. The bill will seek to benefit from the expatriate’s monetary savings for investments, which will significantly contribute to Kuwait’s economic restoration. In return, it will generate profits for the expatriates, which guarantees them a decent life. It will be put in good use instead of depositing them through their bank accounts or transferring their earnings or salary abroad without making profits out of it.

 Furthermore, the bill stated that an expatriated is permitted to reside in the country for only ten years as an investor to their chosen sectors. It will include divorced women or widows of Kuwait men with children, the children of Kuwaiti women, and those individuals who possess their real estate in Kuwait. 

 For the expatriates to own a property, they must ask for approval from the Kuwait government. They are required to submit the necessary documents to the Justice Ministry for the authorities to review their good conduct clearance, their current status, and their family. Other conditions related to the property include that it should be a residential apartment for private housing. The rented property is not allowed. However, there is no given limit to the apartment’s price. Most importantly, the expatriate must have a valid residency. 

For further information on the bill, click here.

 This bill gives excellent opportunities for many expatriates and residents who are living within the country. As the nation’s economy starts to rise, it will boost its growth if ever this bill is approved. 

The Remaining Residency Violators in Kuwait

Speaking of residency, the Interior Ministry reported on August 13, 2020 that about 120,000 residency violators had not joined the amnesty period. Hence, it is currently formulating a plan to arresting those individuals for deportation. However, they are required to pay for their fines for being illegal residents, which can cost a maximum of KD 600 per person.

 It added that they would be obligated to pay for their airfare tickets. Anti-coronavirus protocols will also be implemented to them. According to the ministry, most of these individuals are bulk menial labor brought into the country by visa traders. After that, they are left on their own within the streets of Kuwait.

Even if the Kuwait government gave these residency violators a chance to return home, many have chosen to stay. It is our responsibility to abide by the implemented law.

Partial Distribution of Civil IDs

On August 16, 2020, the Director of the Public Relations and Media Department at the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) Ahmad Al-Sabr affirmed to the public that partial distribution of Civil IDs is being done. In the authority’s branch of Ahmadi Governorate, they distributed starting on Sunday for the completion of Civil IDs distribution. It will serve as their first part of their operations.

The newly established branch will serve the residents within the governorate. It is currently waiting for its completion before opening it next year. Partial operation is being catered; therefore, it only distributes Civil IDs. No transactions are received within the branch. It distributed Civil IDs to the citizens and their housemaids from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM in its working hours.

Hence, Director Al-Sabr advised the public to ensure that their Civil IDs are ready before picking it up on the designated place without an appointment.

Today marks the 21st day, and the final day of the Kuwait government’s implemented fourth phase plan. The nation will be transitioning to its fourth phase to normalcy. As it will begin on August 18, 2020, I continue to pray that the Almighty God will guide us through this path we take. Even in this crisis, let us strengthen our hopes that we have a high chance of defeating the pandemic if only we fully cooperate with the authorities’ decisions.

Newly Issued Passports for June 2020

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait released another list of applicants whose newly issued passports have arrived from the Philippines. For the complete list in the month of June, here is the link. https://bit.ly/3adupEV

For the individuals whose name is written on the list, the Embassy advised them to claim their new passports in the Embassy from Sunday until Thursday at 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Online appointments are not required in claiming the passport. For the other lists of visas that are not claimed, here are the links. 

List of Unclaimed Passports by the Philippine Embassy

Ending of the Second Round of the Online Appointment Priority System

In Kuwait, the Philippine Embassy released a public advisory regarding the end of the second round of the Online Appointment Priority System. After making the given link available for 84 hours, it finally closed on August 13, 2020 at 8:00 AM. The Embassy reiterated to the applicants that the online appointment system does not ensure the applicants an immediate slot. It is because those individuals with expiring passports or visas will be prioritized.

Specifically, they will allocate the slots for those applicants whose visas or passports will expire in August and September 2020. The registered applicants on June 22-24, 2020, and August 09-13, 2020 whose visas and passports will expire from October until December will have to wait for their scheduled appointment.

Upon confirming their appointment schedule, the Embassy will notify them by publishing a list that will be posted on its official Facebook page. Therefore, it advised everyone to be updated on their recent Facebook posts. On the other hand, it still prohibits walk-in passport applications. The online registration will soon be reopened after all received applicants are processed.

Public Advisory on the End of the Second Round of Online Appointment Priority System

The Closure of the Philippine Embassy to COVID-19 Transmission

On August 15, 2020, the Embassy informed everyone of its closure on Sunday of August 16, 2020. It is because they will be conducting disinfection and sterilization on its building. Therefore, the Embassy cannot release the following passport appointment schedule. Opening appointment slots for the non-passport services are also stopped.

Public Advisory on Embassy’s Disinfection of its Building

Following its latest advisory, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait informed everyone that its five employees, unfortunately, tested positive for coronavirus infection. Under the World Health Organization’s implemented protocols, its office and services will be suspended on August 16, 2020 until further notice.

The suspension includes the on-site operations of the Embassy, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Pag-IBIG Fund, Social Security System (SSS) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO). However, together with its attached agencies, they will carry on their service to the Filipino community through their respective official hotlines and social media accounts.

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the movement of the Embassy personnel became limited. Our fellow Filipinos who are in distressed situations advised them to contact the following emergency hotlines by the Kuwaiti government.

  • Kuwait Police: 112 (for non-COVID-19 related cases)
  • Kuwait Ministry of Health: 151 (for COVID-19 related cases)
Public Advisory Regarding the Suspension of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

“Kaya huwag na kayong mag-alala tungkol sa kinabukasan, dahil ang bukas ay may sarili nang alalahanin. Sapat na ang mga alalahaning dumarating sa bawat araw.”

Mateo 6:34 (ASND)

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