Direct flight brings back medical workers
KUWAIT CITY, Oct 27: A group of stranded Filipino staff at the Kuwait Ministry of Health (MoH) arrived in Kuwait on Monday night on board a Kuwait Airways chartered flight from Manila organized by Al Tayer Travels in coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.
After obtaining all the needed travel clearance from concerned Kuwaiti authorities, the group composed of 28 MoH staff flew to Kuwait together with Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Mohd Noordin Pendosina Lomondot and Kuwait Ambassador to the Philippines Musaed Saleh Ahmad Al-Thwaikh. “We would like to thank Al Tayer Travels led by its Chairman Mr Fahad Al Baker for taking this initiative to help our stranded MoH staff. We hope to bring all the stranded MoH staff back soon,” stated Lomondot.
There are 30 more MoH staff and nine of their dependents who are still stranded in the Philippines and waiting for their travel clearance to fly to Kuwait directly. 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.
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. 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.
The first group of 23 MOH staff flew via chartered flight organised by Al Tayer Travels in July and the second batch last Monday night. “We are happy to be of service and to help the Filipino MoH staff. We have done all our best to bring them back to Kuwait despite the pandemic and all the travel restrictions. We thank the Kuwaiti authorities for allowing us to fly back the 28. We hope the remaining 30 and their dependents will be given approval too,” stated Al Baker.
Nine out of the 28 MoH staff who arrived had expired residence visas but were allowed entry per DGCA Circular No 2020/69. “We would like to thank the Kuwait government and the Kuwait Immigration authorities for welcoming us warmly to Kuwait. Thank you also to Al Tayer Travels to Mr Fahad, Mr Bobby, Ms Marlyn, Ms Melanie. Special thanks also to Vice-Consul Adrian Baccay, as well as to Ambassador Lomondot and Ambassador Al Thuwaikh for accompanying us back to Kuwait. We hope and pray that our remaining colleagues in the Philippines can fly back soon too,” stated one of the nurses who was stranded for more than 7 months in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Al Tayer Travels vowed to help the remaining stranded MoH staff to return to Kuwait. “We will start again with all the paper works and hopefully, they can fly back soon,” stated Bobby Thomas, Al Tayer Travels Operations Manager. Lomondot and Al Thuwaikh also promised to help secure the travel clearance from concerned Kuwaiti authorities.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff