KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Government urged the public Monday to abide by the full curfew and comply with health authorities’ instructions as the curfew was expected to reduce the number of coronavirus cases. Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah, in an online briefing for the cabinet, chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, said number of infections amongst citizens and expatriates increased due to failure of the public to abide by physical distancing. Sheikh Basel however said the health situation was under control and “the number of infections is expected to decline after the implementation of the full curfew in the country,” a statement by Deputy Premier, Interior Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh said. The full curfew began Sunday and the government allowed the people to exercise outdoors for two hours daily: 4:30-6:30 pm.
Sheikh Basel, meanwhile, said the Ministry of Health filed three lawsuits against persons who attempted to undermine reputation of the MoH and its staff regarding alleged corruption and profiteering crimes related to purchase of masks and protective garments, said Saleh. Sheikh Basel reiterated full confidence in the MoH officials who were “carrying out their responsibilities faithfully and in integrity.”
Saleh said the cabinet, keen on brushing aside any claim, assigned the State Audit Bureau to examine direct contracting procedures carried out by the MoH, as of March 1, 2020, in order to confront ramifications of the coronavirus. The government urged the public to come forward to legal departments and anti-corruption authority to provide information and documents proving commitment of corruption crimes. It also assigned relevant government authorities to take legal action against any person publishing false allegations against integrity of officials, said Saleh.
On the other hand, Minister of Oil and Acting Minister of Electricity and Water Dr Khaled Al-Fadhel and MEW’s officials briefed the cabinet members that 13,340 megawatts of electricity would be generated this month, a three-percent increase than the 2019 figures. In the meantime, Foreign Minister and head of a special team tasked with repatriation of citizens from abroad, Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah, briefed the government about preparations for nationals’ return from Saudi Arabia via the land checkpoint Al-Nuwaiseeb were complete. He said the operation would be carried out between May 12 and 20, and the foreign ministry and the State of Kuwait Embassy in Riyadh started registering names of citizens seeking to return home. He expressed gratitude for Saudi Arabia for facilitating the return of Kuwaiti citizens.
The cabinet also discussed speech of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, which he addressed to the nation two days ago, during which he urged the international community and specialists to search for a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic. His Highness the Amir highlighted the professional and transparent way the government was dealing with the pandemic, thanking all those who were fighting the disease. His Highness the Amir also called for learning lessons to strengthen national unity, rationalize resources, lessen dependence on others and diversify income. The cabinet assigned relevant ministerial committees to implement guidelines in the speech.
The cabinet meanwhile urged the parliament to postpone a National Assembly’s session, scheduled for today, until after May 30, the last day of the full curfew. The government said the scheduled session entailed health hazards because the parliament would house more than 100 people in one place, which would contradict with preventive measures to confront the virus. — KUNA
By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: The plight of around 80 Indians living on the streets for nearly two weeks in Farwaniya after failing to register for the government amnesty finally ended on Monday, after they were accepted under the amnesty and taken to a shelter for repatriation back home. A volunteer working with a charity group that distributes meals to needy people had posted about their suffering on social media. Kuwait Times had also contacted the interior ministry to take action in this regard, while another Indian group also tried to help.
Their reasons for not registering for the amnesty were varied – some didn’t have passports, others didn’t meet the condition of expired visas before March 1, 2020, some had debts to pay, such as to telecommunication companies, and many didn’t get the chance to enter the processing center during the last five days, as this period was for all nationalities and attendees were in thousands.
Mohammed Khaleel Khan, President of UP NRI Forum Kuwait, was present at the center during the amnesty and during the transfer of this group of Indians to the shelter on Monday. He told Kuwait Times around 80 Indian expats were transferred to the shelter in Abdaly, where visa violators who previously registered for the amnesty are housed, and will leave for India soon.
“The Indian Embassy was present at the amnesty center to help issue travel documents to those who didn’t have their passports. But the problem was that their numbers were huge and the printing machines were not able to print all documents in that short period. Also, some had debts to pay and the amounts were high, so it wasn’t easy to manage. And residencies that expired in March were renewed automatically, so such people were not violators anymore,” Khan said.
“These 80 people were living on the streets as they didn’t have a place to go to, or they came from far-flung areas such as Wafra or Abdaly and couldn’t go back with the curfew situation and the absence of transportation,” he added.
Khan said the UP NRI Forum is distributing food packages to Indians in need. “We prepare the donated food packages to distribute to those in need, especially since there are many Indian families without any resources as they lost their jobs during this crisis and don’t have money to pay the rent or buy food. The Kuwaiti government has taken good care of violators and provided them everything, and we thank the government for their support,” concluded Khan.
#Kuwait Cabinet decided to impose a comprehensive ban in the country from four in the afternoon from Sunday, May 10 (4pm) to May 30.
1) Sectors excluded from the total ban are the health and security authorities, the vital services sector such as electricity, oil, municipality and private sector companies that serve these vital activities.
2) Everyone has only one appointment per week for shopping at Co-ops, Supermarkets/ food supplies via bar-code..
www.moci.shop and organized the issue of gas cylinders through reservation or delivery.
3) Supermarkets and groceries will continue to work as usual to serve citizens and expats
4) Main branches of banks to operate on minimal timing during lockdown period.
5) Air conditioning/maintenance companies and everything that serves people is exempted from closure.
6) Allows walking exercise at residential areas from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm Without using cars.
7) Suspend home deliveries services with exception of cooperative societies, food stores and pharmacies.
8) Citizens, expats required to wear masks when going to shopping/ public places.
وزیر خارجہ کویت شیخ ڈاکٹر احمد ناصر محمد الصباح نے اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان کے وزیرِ خارجہ جناب مخدوم شاہ محمود قریشی سے ویڈیو کال پر رابطہ کیا اور دوطرفہ تعلقات پر تبادلہ خیال کیا۔
وزیر خارجہ مخدوم شاہ محمود قریشی کا اپنے کویتی ہم منصب ڈاکٹر احمد نصیر ال محمد الصباح سے وڈیو لنک کے ذریعے رابطہ
کرونا عالمی وبائی صورتحال اور اس سے نبرد آزما ہونے کیلئے کی جانے والی کاوشوں سمیت باہمی دلچسپی کے متعدد امور پر تبادلہ خیال. وزیر خارجہ نے اپنے کویتی ہم منصب کو رمضان الکریم کی مبارک باد دی. وزیر خارجہ نے اس وائرس کی روک تھام کیلئے، کویتی حکومت کی جانب سے کیے گئے بروقت اقدامات کو سراہتے ہوئے، پاکستان میں اس وبائی صورتحال سے نمٹنے کیلئے جاری کاوشوں سے اپنے کویتی ہم منصب کو آگاہ کیا
وزیر خارخہ شاہ محمود قریشی کا کہنا تھا کہ کرونا عالمی وبائی چیلنج اس صدی میں بنی نوع انسان کو پیش آنے والے بڑے چیلنجز میں سے ایک ہے۔ وزیر خارجہ نے، کرونا وبائی تناظر میں ترقی پذیر ممالک کی معیشتوں کو سہارا دینے کیلئے، وزیراعظم عمران خان کے "گلوبل ڈیٹ ریلیف" مطالبے کی تفصیلات سے، کویتی وزیر خارجہ کو آگاہ کیا
کویتی وزیر خارجہ نے کرونا وبا کے پیش نظر، ترقی پذیر ممالک کی معاشی بحالی کیلئے وزیراعظم عمران خان کے گلوبل ڈیٹ ریلیف تجویز کو سراہتے ہوئے سلطنت کویت کی طرف سے اس مطالبے کی حمایت کا یقین دلایا
کویتی وزیرِ خارجہ نے کہا کہ کویت، پاکستان کے شعبہ صحت کی بہتری کیلئے بھی ممکنہ مالی معاونت فراہم کرنے کیلئے پرعزم ہے- کویتی وزیر خارجہ نے کہا کہ ہمیں فوڈ سیکورٹی اور صحت کے شعبہ جات میں پاکستان کی معاونت درکار ہے ۔ کویت کے وزیر خارجہ نے پاکستان اور کویت کے مابین معاشی، دفاعی اور عسکری شعبوں میں تعاون کے فروغ کیلئے، 5 سے 20 سال کی مدت پر محیط اسٹریٹیجک پلان مرتب کرنے کی تجویز بھی پیش کی
وزیر خارجہ شاہ محمود قریشی نے مزید کہا کہ مسلسل لاک ڈاؤن اور بلاجواز پابندیوں کے سبب مقبوضہ جموں و کشمیر میں کرونا وبا کے پھیلاؤ کا خدشہ مزید بڑھ چکا ہے۔ بھارت سرکار اپنی ہندتوا سوچ کے تحت، بھارتی مسلمانوں کو کرونا وائرس کے پھیلاؤ کا ذمہ دار قرار دے کر مذہبی منافرت کو ہوا دے رہا ہے عالمی برادری کو فوری طور پر اس بھارتی رویے کا نوٹس لینا چاہئے۔
کویتی وزیر خارجہ نے واضح کیا کہ ہندوستان میں جاری اسلاموفوبیا اور مسلمانوں کے ساتھ ناروا سلوک کی روک تھام کیلئے کویتی کونسل آف منسٹرز نے او آئی سی سے موثر کردار ادا کرنے کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔ وزیر خارجہ نے کویت کے وزیر خارجہ کو حالات معمول پر آنے کے بعد دورہ ء پاکستان کی دعوت دی جسے انہوں نے شکریہ کے ساتھ قبول کیا۔ دونوں وزرائے خارجہ کے مابین اس وبائی چیلنج سے نمٹنے اور اہم دو طرفہ امور پر پیش رفت کا جائزہ لینے کیلئے، ہر ماہ دو مرتبہ مشاورتی رابطے پر اتفاق۔
By B Izzak
KUWAIT: Following a steep rise in the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, especially among Kuwaiti citizens following a sharp drop, the cabinet is expected to reassess the possibility of imposing a total lockdown to stem the spread of the disease. Local reports said the cabinet is expected to debate the issue and possibly take a decision at the weekend after specialists have recommended a two-week total lockdown to stop the disease.
Osama Al-Enezi, a Kuwaiti specialist physician, said on Twitter yesterday that it appears that the only way to confront the spread of the coronavirus is through a total lockdown for two weeks. Local medical mathematical studies have shown that based on the current situation, the coronavirus is expected to reach its peak by the end of May and then begin a long decline that could continue for weeks.
The health ministry has reported a big jump in the number of cases in the past few days and although the largest number remains among expat workers, there has been a steep rise among Kuwaiti citizens probably because of unlawful family gatherings during the fasting months of Ramadan. Kuwait has already put two highly-populated areas; Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula, under total lockdown for nearly a month now in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
In the meantime, the National Assembly’s health and labor committee was due to discuss government-sponsored amendments to the labor law in the private sector allowing distress companies to reduce salaries of its staff. The amendments stipulate that companies which face financial problems because of the measures against the coronavirus, can reduce the salaries of their employees or ask them to take unpaid leave with the manpower authority permission.
The companies can alternatively dismiss their staff or part of them but after paying their full end of service indemnity rights. MPs have strongly opposed the government move, saying they will not accept any measure that could undermine the rights of workers, especially Kuwaitis. The amendments could be debated during the assembly special session scheduled for next Tuesday.
In the meantime, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said yesterday that he was informed by the finance minister that the government has no plans to withdraw a draft law allowing the government to borrow KD 20 billion over the next 10 years. Therefore, Ghanem said he sent the draft law to the financial and economic affairs committee to study it. The law has been rejected by a large number of lawmakers.
Source: Kuwait times
KUWAIT: The official Government spokesman for the Kuwaiti government, Tariq Al-Muzarem stated the the Govt rejects the riots created at the two centers that house residence violators in the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Kabd regions on Sunday evening.
His Highness the Prime Minister chaired the cabinet meeting via video conferencing
The Almuzram said during a press conference held through video conference following an exceptional meeting by Cabinet Ministers headed by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah via video conference which what was attended by a number of community members related to the incident occured at the residence violators housed at shelter centers.
He added that what happened was not the result of bad dealings inside the shelters or lack of supplies or any mismanagement from Kuwaiti government especially when everyone praises the steps taken by Kuwait government in providing all services.
He explained that the security authorities were present and carried out their duty to impose control and security inside the shelters.
The Kuwaiti government has made contacts with a number of brotherly and friendly countries since the beginning of the crisis and continues to coordinate with them regarding allowing their citizens in shelters to repatriate to their countries and facilitate the procedures.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Interior has allocated shelters for all violators of residence in the State of Kuwait providing them with all the care and needs services for more than three weeks and things have been going smoothly and with full care.
In response to a question about the date for opening the roads for citizens to return back, Al-Muzarem said, “Coordination is taking place with neighboring countries regarding the land borders and will be announced.”(KUNA)
ADDIS ABABA: Saudi Arabia has deported nearly 3,000 Ethiopian migrants in recent days, despite concerns that such operations could hasten the spread of the coronavirus, the United Nations says. Since mid-March, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) has registered 2,870 Ethiopian returnees, all but 100 of whom were sent back from Saudi Arabia, IOM spokesman Alemayehu Seifeselassie said.
A humanitarian worker familiar with the deportations, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said most of the returnees had arrived from Saudi Arabia in the past 10 days. “Large-scale migratory movements which are not planned make the transmission of the virus much more likely to continue. We are therefore calling for the temporary suspension of large-scale deportations,” Catherine Sozi, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Ethiopia, said in a statement.
The migrants are kept in detention facilities in Saudi Arabia before being flown back to Ethiopia, and it is unclear how thoroughly Saudi authorities are screening them for the virus. The Ethiopian government had requested that such deportations be halted until it could set up 30 quarantine centers in Addis Ababa, Sozi said in position paper seen Monday by AFP. But they have continued even though “only seven quarantine centers can host returnees” and “much work remains” to make Ethiopian quarantine centers compliant with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, Sozi wrote.
The Ethiopian Public Health Institute on Monday referred questions about the deportations to the country’s foreign ministry, which did not respond to a request for comment. Later on Monday night, Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew took to Twitter to criticize not Saudi Arabia but rather the Ethiopian migrants and the traffickers who help them go abroad.
“Saudi Arabia and other countries are fed up both with our human traffickers and migrants. This shame has to stop through the joint effort of families and law enforcement personnel,” Gedu said in his post. Ethiopia has reported just 74 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths, but testing remains limited and experts fear the country’s weak health system could quickly become overwhelmed.
Migrants ‘very vulnerable’
Ethiopians have long looked to Saudi Arabia as an escape from poor economic prospects and state repression, hoping to find work despite not having legal status. To get there, many board overcrowded boats that are at constant risk of sinking during sea crossings that can last up to 24 hours.
Up to half a million Ethiopians were in Saudi Arabia when officials there launched a crackdown on illegal migration in 2017, according to the IOM. Since then, around 10,000 Ethiopians on average have been deported monthly, including in January and February. The humanitarian worker said there was a two-week break in deportations beginning around the time Ethiopia announced its first COVID-19 case on March 13.
But flights have since resumed despite the fact that Ethiopia is straining to accommodate the returnees. “The quarantine measures currently in place need to be improved, and the current medical staff needs to be increased and better prepared and equipped to assist… all newly arrived migrants,” the aid worker said. “These migrants are very vulnerable. They have undertaken an extremely dangerous journey and many arrive in Ethiopia with high medical and mental health needs.”- AFP