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Thursday , October 29 2020

Stranded Filipino MOH staff appeal to Kuwait government to allow entry

‘116 Indian nurses allowed entry’

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 26:  Stranded Filipino staff of the Kuwait Ministry of Health appealed on Saturday to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other concerned government authorities to allow them entry to Kuwait after 116 stranded Indian MOH nurses were allowed entry and had arrived in Kuwait on Friday night via a Chartered Kuwait Airways direct flight from India despite the entry ban imposed on 34 countries that included India and the Philippines.

The Kuwait government earlier banned residents coming from 34 countries with high cases of COVID-19 from flying directly to Kuwait but they can travel and stay in a country not in the ban list and stay there 14 days after which they can fly to Kuwait with the required PCR test.

Based on the World Health Organization Dashboard as of September 25, 2020 (5:14pm CEST), India has 5,818, 570 total COVID-19 cases while the Philippines has a total of 296,755 of COVID-19 cases.

The group of stranded Filipino MOH staff mostly nurses have earlier sought the help of the Philippine Embassy in July. According to them, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait sent a letter to the MOH in July with the list of stranded MOH staff in the Philippines. However, to date, the group has been waiting for the MOH approval.

“We are appealing to the kindness of Kuwait Health Minister Dr. Basil Al-Sabah to please allow us to enter Kuwait. We want to go back to work and help Kuwait in its fight against COVID-19,” appealed one of the nurses who spoke to the Arab Times over the phone.

Most of the Filipino MOH staff have been stranded for more than six months now and some of their visas have already expired.

There are around 80 stranded Filipino MOH staff including their dependents who are waiting for the travel clearance from the Kuwait Ministry of Health and other concerned authorities.

The group also asked for the assistance of Kuwait Ambassador to the Philippine Musaed Saleh Ahmad Al-Thwaikh who vowed to do his best to help them by conveying their appeal to the Kuwaiti government.

A few of the stranded Filipino MOH staff opted to fly via Dubai but majority have been waiting for the travel clearance from the MOH.

“As much as we want to fly via Dubai but we can’t do so due to financial reasons. Most of us don’t have money anymore. We hope to be back to Kuwait soon,” stated one of the nurses to the Arab Times over the phone.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy is closely monitoring the plight of the stranded MOH nurses.

“We have already sent a note verbale to the Kuwait Ministry of Health last July. The decision is now in the hands of Health Minister Dr.  Basil Al-Sabah. We are hoping that they will consider our request for the immediate return of our stranded MOH nurses,” stated Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Mohd Noordin Pendosina Lomondot via a text message sent to the Arab Times.

By Michelle Fe Santiago

Arab Times Staff

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