By Ben Garcia
KUWAIT: Farwaniya, the last area under isolation, reopened yesterday after 57 days of lockdown. Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh had earlier endured nearly 100 days of lockdown after being identified by the ministry of health as having too many cases of COVID-19. Two more areas – Khaitan and Hawally – were only briefly isolated for around 20 days. The lockdowns were implemented by the Cabinet as part of measures to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The lifting of the lockdown was a relief, especially for businesses and expats who wanted to return to work after months of no work and no pay. “This is a beautiful gift to us, as we all want to start working again after four months without salaries. We want to work and return to normal life. This is not about me, but about my family’s survival. We’ve had enough after months of sacrifices. Thank God I still have a job after more than four months of sitting idle at home,” said Mark Eseo, a Farwaniya resident. He works as a storage supervisor in Shuwaikh Industrial Area – a 10-minute drive from Farwaniya.
Some people are thankful for the prolonged lockdown. “I am thankful for the lockdown – because of it, I was able to look for another source of income by buying and selling online and diversifying my portfolio through trading stocks. I also had some time to read and enhance my understanding, especially about vlogging, which is now the new trend which can help us survive,” said Alex Salera, an engineer.
Ceejay Torres, a barista at a popular coffee chain in Kuwait, enjoyed the long break, although he was depressed after hearing the stories of many people in his neighborhood who were abandoned by their companies. “I am sad for them because they needed to rely on charity organizations for food. I am thankful to our company that didn’t neglect us – they sent us food packs, besides paying our salary, though not full. But it helped a lot and their generosity amidst the pandemic is really worth mentioning,” Torres said.
Mustafa, a Palestinian who lives with his family in Farwaniya, was also thankful that everything is back to normal now. “I have lived most of my life in Kuwait and it was the first time I experienced the isolation of an area. I hope that it will not happen again. I am especially sad for small children who were unable to leave their homes for many months. I realized how precious freedom is,” he said.