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Thank You, Kuwait for taking care of us

Reshmy Krishnakumar Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Thank You, Kuwait for taking care of us

It’s been a week now that I am watching my Facebook feed overflowing with the ‘Thank you Kuwait’ posts along with a certificate of gratitude and appreciation received by my friends who are working in the medical field in different capacities, issued by the prime minister of the State of Kuwait H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. It is really heartening to watch their happiness in sharing it. Kuwait Government is acknowledging and appreciating their efforts for the last 2 years, ever since the outbreak of the novel covid 19 pandemic. A great gesture!

Containing the virus and confronting the pandemic was not an easy task. All the frontliners were doing an excellent job during the pandemic. Exhausting working hours and patterns, sleepless nights, compromised family responsibilities - we all know that their journey was not very easy. They stood with the government in all measures taken to safeguard its people’s life and health. Acknowledging them at the government level is something great.

But, I believe it is a two-way process. Now it’s our turn to say a big Thank You in return, for caring us like a mother during the pandemic. For embracing us when we were confused, pacifying us at our loss and standing by our side till the nation is out of danger. The right time for it is NOW, when our second home Kuwait is celebrating another National Day and Liberation Day.

During the initial days in 2020, when the news of new viral infections was slowly coming up from other parts of the world, I remember one day at my office, we got a small bottle of sanitizer, a few masks and gloves at our desk. When I asked my supervisor, who is a Kuwaiti national, he told me to use them for our safety against viral attack. Personally, that was the first touch of care and concern I received from Kuwait during the pandemic. Gradually the cases started increasing. A complete lockdown had to be imposed worldwide despite the economic adversities in store as its consequence. Kuwait also responded very fast by shutting its borders immediately.

A completely unexpected and unprecedented scenario. People started panicking. Their close ones were out of the country for various purposes. Many were on vacation and if they were not able to return on time due to the closed borders, then their job would be in danger. Daily bread would be affected. Then came the news that Kuwait is bringing back all its citizens trapped outside the country if they wish to be back home. While they completely stopped the inflow of new residents, they eased the strict state rules on the residency of those already existing ones and extended their valid visa status. Those inside the country on visit visas were allowed to stay till the situation is manageable and they could travel back. That was literally a relief to many.

After the initial hiccups, the Kuwait market was active with an ample supply of basic safety measures like masks, gloves and sanitizer. India stood by her side through the turbulent time. When the cases were at their peak, Kuwait never hesitated to get medical assistance and procure medical supplies from India with whom the bilateral relations are strong. Unfortunately, the death rate was also at a high end during the peak. Covid care centres were opened at many places. Capacities of the hospitals were increased with more protective devices, ventilators, and other allied ICU facilities. Post covid health issues were properly handled. The huge fairground at Mishreif turned to covid care centre within days. Mass testing was started with mobile testing units so that the infection rate could be monitored accurately. The information regarding the covid incidence was communicated to the public daily so that they get alerted about the latest development. This was done completely in favour of its residents so that their unwanted anxiety on the real scenario gets well addressed and help them in reacting accordingly. The level of transparency they kept was appreciated even by WHO.

By the end of the first wave, she was completely ready to handle any emergency. She was even ready to extend a helping hand to other nations. Now it was her turn. Amidst the devastating second wave when India was shattered with overall fatalities facing an intense resource crisis, she was there to support. She rose to the situation and consignments of oxygen cylinders and concentrators, ventilators, and other medical equipments were sent, to help India fight the second wave of coronavirus – a humanitarian gesture that deepened the bilateral ties of friendship between the two countries.

Yet another sector to be mentioned is food and supplies. At the outbreak of the pandemic, out of panic, people had started stocking up food and other necessities. The government then assured its people that, if not luxury, the basic food needs would be met without any shortage, and they kept their word till now. All these years, co-operatives were working tirelessly to provide its people with what they needed. It’s a must to mention the efforts taken by the authorities to give away basic foodstuff at various residential areas.

When job and earning was an issue for many, especially for those engaged in business, paying rent was a question. Most of the building owners reduced the flat rent or even waived the rent for a few months so that their tenants are relieved from the financial commitment to some extent. Rent would have been his only source of income, yet he was sacrificing a part of it for his fellow men. Employers who could manage with online support engaged their staff with work from home facilities so that both were on the safe side.

When the world started discussing Covid vaccination, Kuwait was preparing itself to procure, test and administer it for its people. The pace at which they advanced in vaccination was extraordinary and flawless. Starting from the frontliners, aged ones and educators they advanced fast in giving the first dose to all its people without any discrimination. Soon the second dose and the vaccination for students were also started. Kuwaiti residents, irrespective of their nationality and profession, felt confident in facing the concept of ‘live with the virus’ in the new normal scenario.

On the financial side, the government issued many relief measures with the aim to help the economy and to ease the monetary burden on its people. To name a few - budget for ministries and government departments increased, instituted a system to secure a minimum income that ensures the cost of living for employees affected by the crisis, took measures to stabilize the prices of food and medical commodities in local markets, a moratorium period of up to 6 months on bank loans including waiver of interest and charges for retail clients and SMEs etc.

It is a fact that Kuwait relies completely on its oil revenue, and it went considerably down as oil prices reached record low due to a combination of falling demand and higher supply. A combination of a supply, demand and financial markets shock contributed to its economic adversity during the pandemic. They too need to be nurtured back to health.

Yes, it is true that the government took strict rules which affected each one of us, in one way or other, financially, physically, or even emotionally. But had it not been taken; can anyone imagine what would be our condition by now. From then onwards, it was very keen on the wellbeing of its residents - citizens and expatriates alike. As life stripped down to the essentials, Kuwait made sure that the necessities are met by each one of us. Years before the pandemic, H.H the Amir of Kuwait was honoured as a humanitarian leader by the United Nations and the state lived up to the title during the pandemic.

Thank You Kuwait for the gentle touch of care and concern when we were in need.

Wishing Kuwait and all its residents, a safe and happy National Day and Liberation Day.

Reshmy Krishnakumar is a freelance Statistician based in India. She was working with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) as Research Associate. Having done her post-graduation in Statistics, she worked as lecturer at St.Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, until her relocation to Kuwait to join at Statistics Department, Kuwait University, Khaldiya. As a freelance writer, she is contributing to various magazines, blogs, and websites. Her passion includes classical dance, writing poems in Malayalam and Hindi. While in Kuwait she was an active member of the Writers’ Forum Kuwait, Indian Women In Kuwait (IWIK) and Science International Forum (SIF) Kuwait.
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