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COVID: Selective Hatimia

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HATIMIA is a term that was derived from the name of the most generous Arab – Hatim al-Tai. Stories and legends have been told about his excessive generosity during his lifetime, which is why his name is still being used as a symbol of generosity.

We are talking here about the generosity of COVID-19 to some of the medical, commercial and governmental elites. On the other hand, it created bankruptcies for us and ended services for hundreds of Kuwaitis and expatriates through bankruptcies and ending business interests for retailers. This particularly affected our youth who believed our governments are rational in terms of supporting them and encouraging them to run businesses through the so-called National Fund for the Small and Medium Enterprise Development.

Since the time of establishment of that fund until now, nothing has been achieved. This is because only the weak and the favored were appointed in that body, which drips with failure.

However, this is not our topic for the day. Our topic is about the beneficiaries of the calamities of COVID-19 crisis during the era of the former Health minister, the young sheikh. We hope that the current minister, who is infected with COVID-19 virus, will not follow his path.

On Tuesday, January 11, a local newspaper reported a large number of new COVID-19 cases in the country, which caused panic in us.

The report stated, “The irrational government is deceiving us on the mutated COVID-19 variant, or the Omicron. It has hence banned gatherings to party, to pray in congregation, and to work … Everything is back online.

The first thing they did was increase the cost of the PCR test to KD 45, after which it was reduced to KD 35, then KD 25, and finally KD 9. A testing kit is now available from pharmacies, which costs KD 2.5. If we calculate based on the 4 million and 500,000 people in Kuwait by an average of KD 25, the amount becomes KD 112 million and 500,000. Multiply this ten times a year for each person and the result is KD 1 billion and 125 million. Who in the government is getting a share of  PCR cake? What about the rest of the medicines?” The new report ended with that.

We have repeatedly talked about the beneficiaries of such excessive amounts. Since our eyes opened for the first time in life, we have known that the healthcare service in Kuwait is free. So why are such astronomical sums required for a swab that takes not even two minutes?

Why did the Ministry of Health, during the era of its former minister, comfortably agree to spend these astronomical sums from the pocket of the citizens and residents without right and with pleasure? Those millions went into the pockets of the owners of laboratories, and to the senior and junior officials of our “rational” government

I went on personal overseas trips several times during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. I had to undergo a PCR test before traveling and another before boarding the plane back to Kuwait. The government of the former young minister Sheikh also compelled me to undergo another one after arrival in Kuwait, and required that I stay at home for days while following up the defective Shlonak application.

The failure of this app reminds us of the failure of our government of December 5, 2020 and of the parliamentarians who monitored it and did not open their mouths about the financial injustice shown towards citizens and residents. This was because the irrational Ministry of Health polished their history or bribed them with overseas treatments. This service was offered to very few deserving cases and to many undeserving cases, which cost the state hundreds of millions of dinars that went in vain.

ali-albaghli@hotmail.com

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil