CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #23 – One Great Step Towards Normalcy

CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #23 – One Great Step Towards Normalcy

August 24, 2020

“Through perseverance, many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.”

Benjamin Disraeli

Like how light shines throughout the darkness, our hope towards normalcy gets brighter as Kuwait’s nation completed the third phase. We can keep the fire burning until we have achieved full restoration. With the Kuwait government’s unceasing efforts and our heroic frontliners, we push through our survival during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health reported 432 new COVID-19 cases with 618 recoveries and three additional deaths. It brings to a total record of 80,960 cases, with 72,925 recovered cases and 518 fatalities. As of now, there are 7,517 active cases with 99 serious cases. It is excellent news that the daily reported fatalities remain low as the weeks passed.

Update of COVID-19 Cases in Kuwait on August 24, 2020

Looking at the chart of COVID-19 cases, we can see the alternating record of the daily cases and recoveries. However, the Health Ministry recorded a significant number of recoveries on August 20, 2020, which went lower on August 22, 2020.

Timeline of Cases from August 18, 2020 to August 24. 2020

Entering the Fourth Phase

The State of Kuwait successfully transitioned to the fourth phase of its five-phase plan to normalcy on Tuesday of August 18, 2020. As the fourth phase permitted the reopening of some business establishments, many business owners return to their merchandise operation. It includes the reoperation of beauty and hairdressing salons, tailors, restaurants and cafes, and gymnastic halls.

Precautions on Gyms

Specifically, gymnastic allows will receive a limited number of visitors with specific time gaps in each group. The given time gap is intended to provide time for the personnel to conduct disinfection within its premises.

Precautions in Barbershops

However, precaution health requirements are strictly implemented, such as social distancing and wearing face masks to protect Kuwait nationals and expatriates’ health safety. The curfew is not altered as it remained the same, which begins at 9:00 PM until 3:00 AM.

Resumption of Tailor Shops

Within the city, it is evident that its economy is sparking back to life. In many business establishments, precautionary health measures remain stringent. It is only through the compliance of all individuals that we can attain victory from COVID-19 disease.

The Volunteering Work of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society

In this health crisis, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) has conducted unceasing assistance and donations for the country’s needy people. The KRCS’ Chairman of Board of Directors, Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer, stressed the importance of volunteers in activating the society’s role in community development through their given initiatives and efforts.

With the commemoration of World Humanitarian Day on August 19, 2020, the inspiring volunteers within the society showed their commitment, dedication, and creativity in providing the community’s limitless needs. Since the beginning of the crisis, KRCS organized the society’s youth in supporting Kuwait’s efforts against COVID-19 disease. Thus, more citizens and residents registered themselves as they willingly serve the whole nation.

The volunteers’ feats include distributing food baskets, helping deprived families and workers, the evacuation of citizens in the Nuwaiseeb port, and the continuous supply of sanitizers and masks for cooperative societies institutions, and the community. Several programs were designed to support different community initiatives to provide health supplies, both locally in Kuwait and internationally.

Within these associations include Lebanese Red Cross, Georgian Red Cross Society, Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, Cooperation Foundation, Tajikistan Red Crescent Society, Aghan Red Cresent Society, Kosovo Red Cross, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and the Islamic Committee of the International Crescent. On August 18, 2020, the international community honored all humanitarian workers who were vaccinated as they perform their duty. 

On that day, we also celebrate humanity and the spirit of giving as we dedicate ourselves to helping those who need help no matter what the circumstances we face. As the volunteers continue their humanitarian work, they unceasingly risk their lives for the sake of other people.

Greater Effects of COVID-19 to Patients with Chronic Disease

Many months have passed since the beginning of the virus outbreak. Throughout this time, our knowledge and wisdom regarding the COVID-19 disease expanded with further research. As reported by the Deputy Chairman of the Regional Coalition for Chronic Disease, Dr. Khaled Al-Saleh, the COVID-19 disease gives severe effects on patients diagnosed with chronic illness. It includes cardiovascular, cancer, nervous system sickness, diabetes, and mental health disorders.

In his statement, the Regional Coalition for Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases conducted a workshop regarding the mental health of patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses. It was held in Kuwait with the cooperation of the Kuwaiti Oncology Association and the Kuwait Society for Smoking and Cancer Control.

The conducted workshop is a part of a program organized by the coalition in many countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Al-Saleh affirmed that many experts from the civil society organizations and the World Health Organization participated in it. 

He emphasized the significance of the workshop, especially during this COVID-19 crisis. It is because the preventive measures affected many people directly on their psychological and health aspects. Specifically, the impact on those with chronic diseases is, unfortunately, more significant than those of healthy individuals.

The workshop participants talked about the possible challenges in providing these patients with psychological support. In the WHO’s guide, the challenges involving diet and physical activity also posed as a risk factor. They discussed the significant role of civil society organizations in supporting and assisting patients with chronic non-communicable diseases.

Looking at all these programs and workshops, Dr. Al-Saleh lauded the unceasing efforts of the Regional Coalition for Chronic Diseases of the International Alliance for Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases.

Lifting of Partial Curfew   

  On August 20, 2020, the Kuwaiti Cabinet announced their decision to lift the nationwide partial curfew on August 30, 2020. However, some activities will still be restricted, according to the Kuwaiti Government’s Spokesman Tareq Al-Mezrem. It includes weddings, banquets, gatherings, funeral ceremonies, and receptions. It is because these activities initiate the gathering of many individuals, which results in a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Stringent Implementation of COVID-19 Health Measures

The Kuwait authorities continue to monitor and implement strict adherence of all people to the implemented guideline. The Director-General of the Municipality Ahmad Al-Manfouhi affirmed on August 24, 2020 that the Municipal Council remains keen on monitoring the nation’s health guidelines as part of Kuwait’s efforts in its fight against COVID-19 disease. He said this while inspecting selling establishments in Sharq Area.

In curbing the spread of coronavirus disease, health measures such as checking temperatures and distributing gloves and sanitizers must be continued. As Kuwait transition to the fourth phase, the municipality, together with its teams, worked vigorously in imposing the required steps included in the fourth phase. They worked with the Health Ministry teams in ensuring the compliance of commercial establishments on the COVID-19 health measures. Any discovered violation will result in its closure.

Hence, Director-General Al-Manfouhi urged the citizens and residents to adhere to the implemented regulations as their responsibility and individual contribution to the nation’s restoration to normalcy. 

Inspection by the Chief of Kuwaiti Municipality

Travel Guidelines by the Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways released an infographic stating the travel guidelines for the public. It announced the specific individuals permitted within the airport. It includes the passengers, employees, special needs, elderly and special cases who must have only one accompanying person upon entering the airport. Other individuals not listed above are prohibited within its premises.

 Furthermore, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation affirmed that there are no changes in banned countries from entering the country. The implemented decision will be reviewed every ten days. However, it solely depends on the improvement of the COVID-19 situation in banned countries. 

Travel Guidelines of Kuwait Airways

Today marks the 7th day of the government’s fourth phase plan. It is everyone’s great joy that the country successfully transitioned to the fourth phase. In this way, the recovery of the nation’s economy and the community’s livelihood is near its completion. Throughout the dark times, we experience in recent months, we are getting closer to our full restoration. 

As we begin the fourth phase, let us remain united and disciplined to all the government’s implemented guidelines and health precautions. In this way, we can ensure the success of the five-phase plan for restoration.

Updates of Philippine Embassy in Kuwait

 On August 18, 2020, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait released a public advisory regarding consular services’ resumption and its continued ATN Services suspension. According to the Embassy, passport application, renewal, and validity extension will resume on August 19, 2020. It opened for the applicants who registered through the Online Appointment Priority System on June 22-24, 2020, and August 9-13, 2020. For the release of passports, an appointment is not required.

For the Notarization of Affidavits and Contracts; Authentication of PSA/NSO Documents, Transcript of Records, NBI Clearance, Diplomas and other documents notarized in the Philippines; Affidavits of Support and Consent; Report of Birth; Parental Travel Permits and Report of Marriage, its services began on August 20, 2020. To avail of one’s appointment, they can apply through this link. http://kuwaitpe.setmore.com/

For the public, the Embassy announced the following reminders. First, the applicants must always be updated for the weekly list of those with confirmed passport appointments. They are advised to follow the official posts of the Embassy’s Facebook page. On Wednesday of August 19, 2020, an advisory was released on both the official Facebook and Twitter pages of the Embassy. The announcement is about opening the non-passport appointment slots for August 20 and 23-27, 2020, through this link. http://kuwaitpe.setmore.com/

 For those individuals applying for passports or renewal of their visas, they must answer the passport application form in advance. It can be downloaded through this link. http://bit.ly/KuwaitPEConsularServices. Once answered, they must bring a copy of their current passport and Civil ID. To ensure that they got the correct requirements, they may check the requirement list through this link. http://bit.ly/KuwaitPEConsularServices

Preparing the exact amount for the application fee is advised. Check this link to be aware of the exact fees of the application. http://bit.ly/KuwaitPEConsularServices.

Some of the Embassy’s Assistance to Nationals (ATN) Services are temporarily suspended. It includes non-emergency rescue or legal assistance from August 19, 2020, until September 1, 2020. For the Filipinos who are extremely distressed, the EmbassyEmbassy advised them to contact 112, the Kuwait Police and Ambulance hotline.

Public Advisory of Philippine Embassy in Kuwait on August 18, 2020

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait announced on August 19, 2020 of the available appointment slots for services such as Civil Registration (Report of Birth, Report of Marriage) and Authentication and Notarial (including the Special Powers of Attorney) on August 20 and 23-27, 2020. 

Availability for Non-passport Services

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait released a public advisory regarding passport extension and releasing on August 23-30, 2020. The Embassy affirmed to the public of the suspension of its non-passport services such as civil registration and authentication from August 23-30, 2020. The decision will pave the way for the Embassy’s operations on passport extension and release for Filipino individuals whose residence visas or iqama will expire on August 31, 2020.

 Therefore, the Embassy will extend applicants’ passport validity with confirmed appointments. However, the applicants must return to the Embassy at a later date to renew their passports. It is under the implemented policy of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for passport extension. It will prevent any validity extension for old passports without the individual’s application for its renewal. 

 Furthermore, the EmbassyEmbassy announced the step-by-step process for passport extension on August 23-30, 2020. The applicants are required to answer the passport application form in advance before their appointment schedule. The form can be downloaded through this link http://bit.ly/KuwaitPEConsularServices.

 As the applicants visit the Embassy in their scheduled appointment, they must bring the form with their Civil ID and a copy of their current passport. One must also check the requirement list through this link http://bit.ly/KuwaitPEConsularServices.

 For the application fee, the applicants will be paying KD 26 for their passport renewal and extension. After that, the Embassy advised the applicants to be updated on the Embassy’s Facebook page or Twitter posts for the scheduled return for the final step of their application. 

 The Embassy reminded everyone that walk-in passport applications are prohibited. On the other hand, releasing passports will continue from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM from Sundays to Thursdays. Appointments for releasing of passport is not required. 

 For the individuals with non-passport appointment through Setmore on August 23-27, 2020, the Embassy affirmed them to wait for further updates on their appointments’ new schedule. The Embassy further warned those individuals applying for passport extension for overseas travel except the Philippines. They will be prohibited from entry to their destined countries. It is because most countries do not accept passport extensions. 

 Hence, the Embassy asked for the public’s understanding of requiring the applicants to return to the Embassy to complete their passport renewal. Because the EmbassyEmbassy has a limited workforce, the application process for passport extension is strategically shortened to accommodate more Filipinos whose visas are expiring on August 31, 2020. 

Public Advisory of Philippine Embassy in Kuwait on August 21, 2020

List of Individuals with Confirmed Passport Appointments

 The Embassy released another list of those individuals with confirmed passport appointments on August 19-20, 2020. To open the list, click here.

List of Applicants with Confirmed Passport Appointments on August 19-20, 2020

On the following day, the EmbassyEmbassy released the list of applicants with passport appointments on August 21-22, 2020. To check the list, click here.

                                                                    List of Applicants with Confirmed Passport Appointments on August 21-22, 2020

Sapagkat iisa lang ang Dios at iisa lang ang tagapamagitan sa Dios at sa mga tao. Itoʼy walang iba kundi ang taong si Cristo Jesus. Ibinigay niya ang buhay niya bilang pantubos sa lahat ng tao. Ito ang nagpapatunay na nais ng Dios na maligtas ang lahat ng tao, at inihayag niya ito sa takdang panahon.

1 Timoteo 2:5-6 (ASND)

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