By Roy Mabasa
There are 51 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among Filipinos in Kuwait, two of them unfortunately succumbed to the disease, Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Charleson Hermosura said on Thursday.
As of April 30, 2020, the total number of coronavirus cases in Kuwait is 3,740, with 24 fatalities. Almost 1,400 have recovered from the disease.
One of the challenges Filipinos are facing in Kuwait is the current economic downturn where shops, restaurants, and salons have been closed as part of the efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.
“We have a lot of displaced OFWs here, some are terminated while the others are under the no-work, no-pay scheme,” Hermosura said during a phone patch interview at the regular Laging Handa briefing of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID).
Hermosura said the embassy, through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait, has already put in place the processing of financial assistance under the Department of Labor and Employment’s “Akap Program” for displaced overseas Filipinos.
So far, the embassy official said they have already received a total of 18,515 applications and approved more than 3,618 potential beneficiaries.
On top of that, the embassy has also distributed more than 14,000 food packs through the help of Filipino community leaders.
Hermosura added that the embassy is now preoccupied with assisting the registration of undocumented Filipinos under the Kuwaiti government’s amnesty program for all foreigners illegally staying in the Gulf state.