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KUWAIT SET FOR REOPENING

KUWAIT CITY, May 21: With the start of the countdown to May 30 – the date set by the government to gradually resume normal life – all ministries have entered a state of alert in preparation for the resumption of work.

According to informed government sources, there are indications that the start of resumption of work will witness the lowest number of employees in each sector, elimination of the fingerprint system for workers and expansion of electronic services to prevent congestion and physcial presence of visitors.

Health measures will be firmly implemented to obligate employees and visitors to wear masks and maintain physical spacing.

Thermal examination will be carried out at the entrances of offices and continuous sterilization will occur. The sources explained that the resumption of work and return to normal life in the country is around the corner, depending on government agencies’ reports and their readiness to complete services for citizens and residents remotely by relying on automated systems.

Since Kuwait witnessed the COVID-19 crisis, the need for electronic services in government agencies has become urgent. It was announced that many services have been activated and opened to the public – individuals and companies – with a group of employees still working to complete transactions.

They said, “Resumption of work will be without visitors during the first phase and electronic transactions will be deemed sufficient, provided their completion is quick, and the legal requirements are met.”

The sources indicated that majority of government agencies have activated electronic services for citizens and residents, including Public Authority for Manpower, Public Institution for Social Security, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Public Authority for Civil Information, Civil Service Commission, Ministry of Finance, Kuwait Municipality, State Ministry for Housing Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Electricity and Water, Ministry of Social Affairs, and Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

They revealed that reports expected to be submitted to the Council of Ministers will include plans of those departments and agencies on the method for receiving and completing transactions, and linking together 16 government agencies on one automated system.

The source affirmed that majority of the agencies have expanded the services they provide, and others are working to expand the base of transactions to include all the needs of visitors in order to avoid congestion and need for people to visit the offices.

They clarified that visiting the offices of government agencies will only be after prior electronic appointment, and the employee in charge of reception will be specified in order to avoid contact and maintain social distancing for reducing the risk of spreading the infection. Regarding the return of the employees, the sources explained that some government agencies have prepared their plan for this.

Work will be carried out remotely during the first phase or on the basis of morning and evening shift system in order to follow up and complete the transactions of citizens and residents.

Fingerprint attendance system will be temporarily suspended and the work will be evaluated on the basis of electronic completion of transactions. Health measures will be one of the conditions to implement for the resumption of work such as commitment to wearing masks, thermal examination at the entrances of the offices of the authorities, reassurance of public health and continuous sterilization, and the provision of sterilizers.

Meanwhile, the sources affirmed that the educational authorities in the country have held training courses for their teaching staff with the aim of familiarizing them with the electronic system of giving lectures.

They revealed that the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) started this three months ago, and Kuwait University will transit to the distance education from August if the situation continues as it is now.

The sources indicated that the plans for distance education and preparing the teaching staff to use automated systems are ready and awaiting the decision of the Council of Ministers.

Also, the sources highlighted that some transactions will be provided with direct links through either the smart apps launched by government agencies or their websites, and some services will be offered by specifying an email ID or through apps such as WhatsApp and others to complete transactions.

In addition, the sources said many electronic services will provide bar codes instead of seals and financial matters, so that they can be scanned electronically to ensure their validity, both in permits and stamps for paying the value of transactions, as is happening for transactions related to health insurance, residency and work permits.

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