CORONAVIRUS DIARIES Week #49: Better Days are Coming

CORONAVIRUS DIARIES Week #49: Better Days are Coming

“Hang in there, as better times are ahead.”

– Steven Magee-

 

Today marks the 348th day of our COVID-19 Pandemic journey. It’s the 49th week of our COVID-19 journey and every week, it gets better and better as we see hope in every situation we are in. The State of Kuwait is balancing the health safety of each citizen and building its path towards normalcy.

As better days are coming ahead, the Ministry of Health is still closely monitoring the development in the COVID-19 cases daily. The health ministry continues to report to the public daily to ensure transparency on the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Update of COVID-19 Cases in Kuwait as of February 22, 2021

The photo was taken from: Instagram: Kuwait MOH

As per the bulletin published by the Ministry of Health, it reported 899 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases bringing the total COVID-19 cases to 184,989. The health ministry posted 10,758 total active cases with 149 total serious cases among them. Fortunately, there are 955 new recoveries posted. However, 5 people died from the virus infection.

Compared to last week’s data, there is a slight increase in the daily newly confirmed cases. This might be the reason for implementing again stricter restrictions on the mobility of people within the state.

 

Curfew is under consideration, as per Deputy Prime Minister

Deputy Prime Minister Anas Al-Saleh

The photo was taken from: www.kuna.net.kw

 

In lieu of the recent significant increase on daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases, the cabinet will conduct a meeting to discuss restrictions to be re-imposed throughout the state. The Corona Emergency Committee will hold a meeting today, Monday, to discuss recommendations to the Council of Ministers to enforce the partial curfew in the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Anas Al-Saleh stressed that the cabinet will discuss the curfew decision today, Monday and that all venues will be considered, emphasizing that the government is working to select the path that is least disruptive to citizens and expats while still considering public health into account.

 

Summary of Most Important Decision by the Council of Ministers

Highlights of decisions taken by Council of Ministers

This photo was taken from: Facebook: CGC Kuwait

 

Last 22 February 2021, the Council of Ministers held an emergency meeting discussing the re-imposition of restrictions due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the State and the presence of new COVID-19 variants. The newly reimposed restrictions will take effect from 24 February 2021 (Wednesday) to 20 March 2021 (Saturday). The government advises the public on the following restrictions:

 

1. Closure of Land and Maritime Borders

  • Exemption: Shipping operations, Divided Zone workers, and their first-degree relatives
  • Allowed: Return of citizens thru land and maritime borders, first degree relatives, and travel companions

2. Closure of all Dine-in halls of restaurants and cafes from 24 February 2021, Wednesday until further notice

  • Allowed: Take-away or Pick-up, Delivery, and Drive-Thru

3. Reduced workforce attendance

  • Only 30% of government sector attendance rate
  • Only 50% private sector attendance rate
  • Encourage remote working

4. Reduced passenger percentage in public transport by 30%

 

I hope that the re-imposition of restrictions will not hurt the current economic recovery of the state. The Kuwait government is doing its best to balance the health and the economy of the state. They are re-imposing the following restrictions to safeguard the health of its citizens and expatriates but also consider the economic recovery of the country.

Moreover, the State of Kuwait decided to re-impose partial curfew starting on Thursday. The partial curfew will take effect on 07, March 2021, Sunday with a 12-hour curfew from 5:00 PM until 5:00 AM for one month. The decision was based on non-compliance with health protocols by Kuwait citizens and expatriates.

12-hour Partial Curfew

This photo was taken from: Instagram: Ayman Mat News

 

24-hour airport operations

Kuwait International Airport Arrival

This photo was taken from: Gulf News

 

As of 25 February, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation released a circular stating that Kuwait International Airport will operate 24 hours starting 07 March. According to the circular, all operating airlines were notified of the change and instructed to notify the DCGA of their changed flight schedules.

This is due to the recently reduced passenger capacity of the Kuwait airport back in January to take control of the COVID-19 virus spread. Since then, the airport has been limited to only 1,000 passengers per day.

Non-Kuwaitis are still prohibited from entering Kuwait until further notice, despite the new decision. Those who are exempt from the decision, such as the first-degree relatives of Kuwaitis and domestic workers, must comply with the government’s and the DCGA’s health protocols upon entry.

 

Expats stranded in Kuwait were dismayed by an 11-hour entry ban

Stranded Expatriates

This photo was taken from: Gulf News

The further developments of entry to Kuwait borders resulted in dismayed stranded expats because of the 11-hour entry ban. Kuwaiti authorities suspended a decision to allow immigrants to enter Kuwait from February 21 to an indefinite date, which also led to the suspension of a decision to allow passengers originating directly from 35 coronavirus high-risk countries. Many expats stranded overseas were left devastated by the recent decision because most of them had already booked hotel rooms and airline tickets.

The DGCA stated in a press release on late Saturday that the suspension of non-Kuwaiti passenger entry into Kuwait will remain in effect until further notice, based on medical authorities’ instructions and after assessing the global coronavirus circumstances.

Kuwaitis, first-degree relatives of Kuwaitis, and accompanying domestic workers, as well as diplomats, their families, and accompanying domestic workers, as well as public and private medical personnel and their families, may continue to enter the country and be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

However, the DCGA exempted Kuwaiti patients and students, and unaccompanied minors from the mandatory hotel 14-day quarantine. But they have to quarantine at home for the entire 14-day period.

Stranded Expatriates expressed their dismay with the recent advisory of the DCGA because of the inconvenience it brought. Most of the stranded expatriates already booked a hotel room and airline ticket. Unfortunately, hotel bookings nowadays are non-refundable. This is very unfortunate to those families who are struggling financially. Some of the stranded expatriates expressed that the sudden change of policies was devastating. Some of them are always delayed on coming back to Kuwait because of changing restrictions.

But still, these stranded expatriates look on the bright side. They are always hopeful that they may come back to Kuwait when the days get better. They understand the sentiment of the Kuwait government on why they are imposing stricter restrictions on border control. They understood the Kuwaiti government is doing this because they need to safeguard the health of its citizens and expatriates.

 

6th Batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

MOH: 6th Pfizer-BioNTech Batch Arrives Next Sunday

This photo was taken from: Instagram: Ayman Mat News

 

Dr. Abdullah Al-Bader, Assistant Undersecretary for Drug and Food Control announced that the 6th Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will arrive on Sunday, 28 February. Dr. Al-Bader reiterates that the government is keen on battling the coronavirus spread and the vaccine will help them win the battle. He also assured that the government is eager on reinforcing its national immunization campaign.

The supplies of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines were made directly with the drug company, avowed the official who stressed that vaccination was necessary to divest the world from this health menace.

Kuwait citizens and expatriates are glad upon hearing the news of the arrival of the 6th batch of COVID-19 vaccine. They are optimistic that the successful vaccination program will bring us closer to brighter days of new normalcy.

 

Public Advisory on DFA Repatriation Flight

Public Advisory: DFA Repatriation Flight for Filipinos with No Travel Ban

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

 

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait released a public advisory stating that Overseas Filipinos who do not have a travel ban or ARE VISA 14 holders may join the DFA’s repatriation flight back to Manila, Philippines.

The Embassy advises the Filipino community that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will host its first repatriation for Overseas Filipinos from Kuwait in 2021, which is tentatively scheduled for the first week of March 2021. The DFA’S Assistance to Nationals (ATN) is currently assembling a chartered Philippine Airline flight to Kuwait.

 

POLO Kuwait offers SSS, Pag-IBIG, and OWWA Assistance Services

POLO Kuwait Services

This photo was taken from: Facebook: POLO Kuwait

Good news, Kabayan! POLO OWWA Kuwait will be available to serve Overseas Filipinos at Kuwait Disabled Sports Club at Hawally Area from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. POLO OWWA Kuwait will offer the following services such as Balik Manggagawa Contract Verification, OWWA Membership Renewal, SSS Contributions, and Pag-IBIG services.

POLO OWWA Kuwait reminds the public to bring the necessary documents before going to POLO OWWA Kuwait to avoid inconvenience. Also, they reminded the public to observe health protocols while availing of their services.

Overall, Kuwait has a total tally of 184,989 COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the Philippines have 563,456 total COVID-19 cases with 28, 488 total active cases. As of 22 February, 4 PM, the Department of Health announced additional 2,288 newly-reported cases, 88.1% of which are mild COVID-19 cases. Both countries are exerting their effort to impose health protocols and safeguard each live in their respective countries. Better days are coming ahead of us so we need to follow health protocols for our safety and walk the path towards normalcy.

 

Update on COVID-19 Vaccines

Unbranded COVID-19 Vaccine Dose

This photo was taken from: francescoridolfi.com

 

As we get closer to the end of the COVID-19 Pandemic thru COVID-19 vaccines, things are getting better. Vaccines play a huge role in our path towards normalcy. That’s why vaccine developers are eager to produce a safe and effective vaccine to end the dramatic pandemic we have right now. This is also the same rationale why vaccine developers are still developing a COVID-19 vaccine that is also effective to the new COVID-19 variants.

Vaccine developers will not need to conduct extensive randomized clinical trials to assess vaccines that have been modified to target concerning coronavirus variations, as per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The proposals, which call for small trials comparable to those needed for annual flu vaccines, would expedite the review process at a time when researchers are growing concerned about how the variants may halt or revert advancements against the virus.

The majority of vaccine manufacturers with certified vaccines or candidates in late-stage trials have already asserted that they will adapt their products to address vaccine variants. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have already started to work on a new version of its vaccine that can be used as a booster shot against, B.1.351, a virus variant that originated from South Africa and appears to diminish the efficacy of existing vaccines.

Other vaccines are modified on a daily basis in the same way. Because the influenza virus progresses so quickly from year to year, vaccine developers should develop new formulations every year. According to U.S. FDA, the newly modified COVID-19 vaccines would be approved under an amendment to the original vaccine’s emergency authorization.

 

Developing Antiviral drugs will be the key in the next phase against COVID-19

Aside from developing COVID-19 vaccines, Dr. Fauci stated that we should develop antiviral drugs too. Antiviral drugs will be vital in the next phase of the COVID-19. Developing such a drug will help global health to keep on track towards better days of normalcy.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci

This photo was taken from: Boston Globe

 

The U.S. FDA has only certified one antiviral drug, which is Remdesivir, to cure COVID-19 so far. The drug’s effect, as per Dr. Fauci, is “clear but modest.” Other medicines are being used, including steroid dexamethasone and monoclonal antibodies.

Drugs that are particularly designed to combat “vulnerable targets” in the virus’ replication cycle are now necessary, he said.

While treatments like Remdesivir have enhanced the care of COVID-19 patients, they are not a cure-all and not suitable for everyone. Efforts to repurpose existing drugs or find new ones have largely failed.

The development of vaccines and antiviral drugs will help to reduce coronavirus infection around the world. Thanks to technologies that help to expedite the development of these. All of us should hope that these two things will help us to have better days ahead of us and regain our normal lives again.

 

MUST-READ AND SHARE!

My Trusted Page of References for COVID-19 Diaries

The Primary Purpose of my COVID-19 Diaries

CORONAVIRUS: Kuwait OFW Quarantine Diaries – TABLE OF CONTENTS

CORONAVIRUS DIARIES: Week #47: Kuwait’s Actions amidst Rising COVID-19 Cases

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

 

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