THE government will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis with a lot of failures and confusion in its decisions. This brings to mind the question that the late Amir Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah, when he was the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, used to ask whenever a crisis worsens – “Where are we heading to?”.
His Highness the Prime Minister has abandoned the affairs of Kuwaitis, who continue to burn under the fire of the government that seems to have lost its bearing, in the hands of the ministers by avoiding accountability in the event that any action is taken that does not please certain MPs, and upsets Kuwaitis.
Everyone rejoiced when the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Chairman of the COVID-19 Emergency Committee issued the statement, “Travel and enjoy”.
However, when the citizens started packing their bags, they were met at the airport with a decision which bars those above the age of 75 years from travelling unless they acquire or rather pay for a COVID-19 health insurance.
This is a new invention by the Ministry of Health which lacks any convincing explanation. It does not have a place in either the law or the Constitution.
Usually, the countries to which these people would travel do not obligate them to acquire health insurance. Also, part of the visa fees imposed by many countries go to this type of insurance, which covers the traveler throughout his or her stay in that country. This makes us wonder whether Kuwait’s Ministry of Health has become an agent.
In the beginning of the pandemic, the Minister of Health introduced to us the “Kuwait Mosafer” app. However, this app has further complicated matters, and imposed fees on citizens, who were stranded at the airports of the world, in what is an unconstitutional procedure.
Even in the state of emergency, a citizen has the right to return to his or her country in any circumstance. However, due to “deafness”, the wise government paid no attention, and did not move a finger to stop this farce.
Unfortunately, this app, despite its complexities, is still imposed on everyone. No one knows who benefits from it, or where the money obtained from these procedures go.
All countries of the world have started adapting to the pandemic. Britain has lifted all restrictions, as well as France, the United States, Italy, and Russia, even though new cases are recorded daily in the thousands. So why such strictness in Kuwait where the plan to confront the spread of COVID-19 seems ill-studied? This is confirmed by the daily rise in the number of new cases, which subsequently means failure of the plan.
Indeed, this situation continues to upset the citizens and increases the level of their anger. Like the way the late Sheikh Saad used to ask, the citizens also ask, “Where are we heading to?”
Will the government answer this question, or will it continue to live on a different planet?
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times