I have not yet met a single person who praises the decisions of the Minister of Health, the young Sheikh, and his group in dealing with the COVID-19 disaster that has befallen us. Our current health minister is an otolaryngologist ie Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist and is young in his early forties. This is not a defect for him, but it indicates an inevitable lack of practical, social and economic experience.
The decisions made by the young minister and approved by the Council of Ministers – the last spectator – are decisions that upset adults and children, as well as citizens and expatriates!
What is the wisdom behind preventing people from moving around, going out and contacting one another during the period from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am? What is the wisdom behind gathering them for specific hours in their workplaces from where they leave at the same time such that all the streets, even highways, in Kuwait end up being closed, which causes these road-users to experience tension in their private and public transportation?
The wisdom of that decision, which drips with failure, is to reduce mixing and the number of casualties. This is a nice thing to achieve if it is successful but it has not been achieved. In fact, what has been achieved is the opposite. How can the failed decision continue until date?
Day by day, the number of cases of this deadly disease is increasing, as well as the number of patients receiving treatment in intensive care, which was 170 last Friday and increased to 230 on Saturday. We believe that all we need in this country is a little hesitation in issuing decisions and retracting them if proven wrong.
The other calamity in the misfortunes of the Minister of Health’s recent decisions is the persecution of Kuwaitis upon their return to their country from medical or touristic trips. No Kuwaiti can board any plane headed to Kuwait without undergoing a costly examination, even though he has a negative test result from a country with more developed health services for centuries than those in Kuwait, such as the United States.
A 65-year-old man had accompanied his sick wife to the United States and wanted to return to Kuwait. He explained that he was forced to take the COVID-19 test mandated by our Minister of Health, and so he took it reluctantly. However, he was prevented from boarding the plane without paying for the one-week quarantine in a hotel in Kuwait where he will be forced to stay in the hotel room alone for a week. He will have to clean the bedroom and bathroom, and his food tray will be placed outside the room.
This elderly man said there were young students from the US and diplomats with him on the same trip and they were not forced to follow these measures. It seems our health minister believes that COVID-19 infects only the elderly people, and ignores the youth and foreigners.
Is there an iota of logic, feeling, experience or knowledge in this? The government directly approves his decisions, and members of the National Assembly remain as silent as graves, because their only concern is the return of “Che Guevara” from Turkey to Kuwait and the return of “Che Guevara” of Kuwait to the Parliament.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil