Coronavirus in KuwaitKuwait

Coronavirus ‘stigma’ follows people in Kuwait

KUWAIT: Shops closed at the often busy ‘Barayeh Salem’ district in Salmiya. – Photo by Ben Garcia

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The global coronavirus pandemic has led to anxiety, worries and even paranoia. Kuwait has assured the public that authorities are on top of the situation and people will be safe if they follow government instructions. But there are some issues regarding people who are in direct or indirect contact with coronavirus patients. Most of them are medics and their coworkers, friends and acquaintances.

“We are on the frontline of this situation and I am afraid for my family. I work in the hospital and I don’t know who is infected or not. I pray God grants me good health, especially for my family whom I love the most and the reason why I am working hard. May God grant us enough strength to deal with the situation and the challenge we are dealing with every day,” said Violy.

Ron works in a company that was identified on social media to have a worker infected with coronavirus. The report went viral on social media immediately, so when he went home, the owner of the flat where he used to stay told him to vacate his room. “We were brought to the hospital and checked, but since there is no facility to hold us there, they told us to go home and self-quarantine,” he said.

But Ron, unlike many of his colleagues, lived in a separate accommodation. “When I went home, all the people in the flat told me to find another place and come back after 14 days,” he said. “Who will allow me to rent an apartment for two weeks? So I decided to vacate the place and transferred to accommodation of the company instead,” he said. “My point is, what if there was no available space in the company accommodation? Where would I stay,” he asked.

Meanwhile, two areas in Farwaniya have been identified to have two positive cases, worrying nearby residents. “Of course we are very worried,” said Norma, a mother of three. “That place identified by a newspaper is just a stone’s throw away from our building, so we are very concerned. I have three kids and I want them to be safe,” she told Kuwait Times. “I don’t allow them to go out anymore. I don’t want them to get sick.”

Norma’s husband is still working, so she is strictly implementing house rules. “When my husband enters the house after work, I tell him to remove his shoes and clothes and go straight to the bathroom for a shower. He is now doing this regularly. I am not taking any chances. I frequently clean the living and dining areas and bedroom with disinfectant and wipe the handles of doors with alcohol or sanitizer. This is a way to keep us away from the coronavirus,” she said.

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