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Filipino salon staff in Salmiya succumbs to COVID-19

Family awaits Philippine Embassy’s assistance

KUWAIT CITY, April 26: A Filipina working at a salon in Salmiya succumbed to COVID-19 on Saturday at the Jaber Hospital and is the first Filipino fatality since the pandemic hit the country.

The Filipina identified as Connie Laureano, 44, single mother with two children who hailed from Lebak, Sultan Kudarat in Southern Philippines worked as an eyelash expert at a salon in Kuwait.

She was rushed by an ambulance to the Mubarak Al Kabeer Hospital in the evening of April 22 after experiencing difficulty in breathing and was transferred on April 23 to the Jaber Hospital after testing positive of COVID-19, disclosed Erlyn Tamao, younger sister of Laureano to the Arab Times on Sunday.

Tamao who works as a household service worker in Kuwait is still in shock with the sudden demise of her sister. Prior to April 22, she talked to Laureano almost daily who confided to her that she was not feeling well. “It’s been three days that she wasn’t feeling well so I advised her to go to the clinic or hospital but she told me she will be fine and she will just take some medication at home. But on April 22 around 9:30 pm, I got a call from Connie and she can hardly breathe on the phone. She told me she can’t breathe so they’re calling the ambulance. She was taken to the Mubarak Hospital and that was the last time I spoke with her and then yesterday afternoon, I was surprised of so many missed calls and I got a lot of condolences on Facebook. She’s gone,” recounted Tamao in between sobs.

Tamao pointed out that Laureano had been staying at home since the salon suspended its operation after Kuwait declared a public holiday on March 12. “Before the lockdown, Connie told me that she will shop for food that would last for weeks because she does not want to go out anymore. She’s been always reminding me to wear mask and gloves whenever I go out with my madam to the jamiya. She’s been always careful. So where did she get the virus? How come she got sick?” wondered Tamao.

Tamao spoke dearly of her elder sister and thanked her for bringing her to Kuwait. “She’s been always generous and helping everyone in the family. She has been working in Kuwait for 17 years now. She started as a domestic worker then she got this opportunity to work at a salon and she helped me come to Kuwait. I know her to be a fighter and a survivor, that’s why I can’t fully comprehend why she’s gone now. I’m devastated. We are all in shock,” shared Tamao. Tamao and other family members in the Philippines want Laureano’s remains to be repatriated back home and they are still waiting for the advice of the Philippine Embassy on this.

Meanwhile, the agency representative that deployed Laureano to Kuwait has already contacted Laureano’s family in the Philippines and vowed to extend all the needed assistance. On the other hand, Laureano’s employer has been coordinating with the Philippine Embassy on the handling of Laureano’s remains.

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