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Phase two

By Muna Al-Fuzai

The Cabinet approved the second phase of the country’s plan for the gradual return to normal life, while maintaining the partial curfew with a minor change in timings – from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am. The new phase will begin on Tuesday. The plan, as announced by the government in May, includes five phases, each lasting three weeks. Now, we will enter the second phase this week in preparation for the gradual return to normal life as before. Inshallah.

The second period will include the reopening of government agencies and the private sector with less than 30 percent of their capacity, in addition to construction and building works and the opening of commercial malls for specific hours according to regulations. It also includes the opening of retail stores, restaurants and cafes, but dine-in will not be allowed. All public parks will reopen as well. I know it’s extremely hot, so I don’t know who would want to visit parks in this weather – maybe those who like walking or jogging.

This was good news for most people, but not everyone. There are still areas under isolation. With most areas of Kuwait entering the second phase of easing of restrictions, the Ministry of Health will continue its evaluation of the health condition of some areas that have been isolated for months – Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula – along with Farwaniya, to review the rates of recovery and infections during the isolation period. The Interior Ministry will present a comprehensive report to the Cabinet at its next meeting for taking appropriate measures in this regard. I hope the ministers decide to ease the lockdown in these areas, especially Mahboula.

Since March 22, Kuwait has been under lockdown – both comprehensive and partial. Yet Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula remain under total lockdown. I sympathize with the residents of these areas because of the long period of sitting at home without being able to go to work. Recently , some psychologists and MPs warned against the negative impacts of the long curfew, psychologically and socially. I can add financially as well.

I think it is an appropriate opportunity to review the condition of the labor market in the private sector by proposing legislations to address the economic condition, as a lot of workers, whether expatriates or citizens, have been affected by the spread of the virus and isolation measures. So a reconsideration of isolation measures is important.

I hope that the numbers of visitors to malls will be limited through a mechanism of reserving an entry date and ensure that everyone wears masks. According to the data of the Ministry of Health, the total number of infected people in Kuwait since the beginning of the crisis reached 42,788 people with 339 deaths, while the number of recoveries reached 33,367. I hope that in the coming days, the numbers of recoveries will be higher.

The Cabinet urged everyone to adhere to health regulations to ensure the safety and health of all. I think the total curfew was a harsh lesson for everyone. Many businesses have shut down and many people have lost their jobs, so extensive media campaigns to wear masks and gloves and use sanitizers to avoid infection are important, so we can all be healthy and go back to our lives as before.

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