CORONAVIRUS:KUWAIT OFW QUARANTINE DAY #01 – The Significance of Immediate Action

March 12, 2020, Thursday

“Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.”

Benjamin Franklin

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 disease as a global pandemic. From what once started in Wuhan China, it now spread across the globe. So far, it killed over 4,500 people and infected 124,000 people worldwide. In Kuwait, the country’s Ministry of Health announced eight new cases for this Thursday of March 12, 2020. It brings to a tally of 80 COVID-19 cases with five recoveries. Within the latest cases, five of them have travel history to Azerbaijan, while three cases have travel history to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

About the transparency of COVID-19 information of the country, the Kuwait Ministry of Health assured the public that they would pursue the principle of transparency about the confirmed infections in the community. The Health Ministry will announce the number of cases with ethical, professional, and international dimensions, as mentioned by Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad, the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health.

Day #01 Update of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait at March 12, 2020
Update of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait at March 12, 2020

Because of the rising number of cases in the country, the government of Kuwait had a session last Wednesday. They decided on the suspension of work in all government departments from March 12, 2020, until March 29, 2020. The period of suspension is starting today.

According to Tareq Al-Mezrem, the Council of Ministers considered the period from March 12, 2020, to March 26, 2020, as an official holiday. However, the vital sectors will operate with the supervision of Deputy Premier, Minister of Interior, and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and relevant authorities. The authorities will suspend commercial air traffic at Kuwait International Airport at midnight on Friday of March 13, 2020.  Incoming flights are only limited to the Kuwaiti travelers and first-degree relatives. Cargo planes will operate normally to deliver sufficient goods for the community. 

They decided to close the banks during this period except one branch of every bank in each Governorate. Electronic services, such as local and international transfer, will still operate. It means ATMs are still operable. Also, they will ban people’s gatherings, especially at restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping malls. It also includes private sports clubs to discourage further the assembly of people.

Their immediate action to mitigate the spread of the virus is for the good of the people. With this, I have good faith that the country will be able to operate normally again in a short time. Unlike other countries, the Kuwaiti government-imposed community quarantine immediately even with a low number of cases in the country.

Furthermore, mosques and other places of worship can be dangerous if many people would gather and flock to the area.

The government instructed the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs against the dangers of gatherings as they raise awareness on preventive methods against the COVID-19 disease.

The Council of Ministers also stressed the significance of implementing sanctions against the violators of the guidelines. The primary purpose of this implementation is to limit the spread of infection and preserve the citizens’ safety and health. That is the reason why all of the people in the community must cooperate and support these security measures. During this time of crisis, people should show the spirit of awareness and responsibility.

Today, many people flocked the groceries and supermarkets as these buyers panic on food the worries of food shortage. However, the authorities assured that strategic food reserves are sufficient for the population. In a supermarket in Salmiya, a recorded video shows many people buying their necessities. The same situation happened in Mahboula, where there are long queues of customers in the counter.

Video of Panic Buying in Salmiya
Panic Buying in Mahboula
Panic Buying during the Initial Days of Quarantine

The country of Kuwait proves to be strict and accurate to its imposed measures. Today, the authorities closed down eight cafes in Sharq, Qurain Markets, due to the ban on people gatherings. The Municipality checked the shisha ban compliance in the community. With the further termination of these establishments, I hope people will be discouraged from joining any gatherings.

The Shutdown of 8 Cafes

The Ministry of Health continues to conduct medical examinations in the Mishref fairgrounds against COVID-19 disease. In the testing center, the process is orderly and calm today as the expatriates residing in the Jahra Governorate undergoes COVID-19 tests. It is evident in the video that the expatriates observed physical distancing as well as the use of facemasks. I will commend the organized process of the Ministry of Health in conducting these tests. Through this way, they can identify the people infected with the virus.

Ministry of Health Testing Center in Mishref fairgrounds
Screening of Expatriates

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait announced a public advisory concerning the Kuwait Cabinet’s decision on the suspension of work. Furthermore, the Embassy appeals to all Overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait to stay healthy, remain calm and vigilant, and update themselves to the official news from credible sources. They advised postponing one’s travels to and from Kuwait to prevent any inconvenience caused by the country’s precautionary measures.

Public Advisory of Philippine Embassy

In the Philippines, there are three new COVID-19 cases with four deaths. It brings to a total of 52 confirmed cases, in which 18 are imported cases outside the country, 16 are local transmission, 17 are unknown, and one is under investigation.

Update of COVID-19 cases in Philippines at March 12, 2020

Because of the intensified surveillance by the Department of Health, they confirmed that the country has local transmission of the virus. Consequently, the Philippines’ government raises the COVID-19 Alert System to Code Red sublevel two by the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

The authorities imposed stringent social distancing measures in the National Capital Region (NCR) for 30 days. It also includes suspension of classes, public offices, and mass gatherings until April 12, 2020. They have suspended domestic travel via air, land, and sea to and from the NCR today.

Today is the 1st day of the quarantine in Kuwait. Kuwait has a total tally of 80 COVID-19 cases, while the Philippines has 52 cases. The authorities from both countries implemented stringent security measures in hopes of stopping the spread of the virus. They will assess the effectivity within the coming days. I thank both of the governments for their immediate action on this pandemic crisis.  I have good faith in both countries that they can mitigate this pandemic and ensure their people’s safety.

“Na inyong ilagak sa kaniya ang lahat ng inyong kabalisahan, sapagka’t kayo’y ipinagmamalasakit niya.”

Pedro 5:7

The Primary Purpose of my COVID-19 Diaries

CORONAVIRUS: Kuwait OFW Quarantine Diaries – TABLE OF CONTENTS

CORONAVIRUS:KUWAIT OFW QUARANTINE DAY #21-Structural Reforms for the Economy

CORONAVIRUS:KUWAIT OFW QUARANTINE DAY #22 – Enforcing Quarantine Guidelines

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