By A Saleh
KUWAIT: Following up Kuwait’s Interior Ministry decision to suspend the issuance of all visit and work visas for Egyptians until further notice, the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower stressed full respect of the Kuwaiti decision taken as part of precautionary measures to fight the spread of COVID-19. In this regard, the ministry’s official spokesperson Haitham Saaduddin said:
“The ministry fully respects the Kuwaiti authorities’ decision as it is a domestic matter and Egypt has nothing to do with it, as one of the measures taken for Kuwait’s greater good and to protect its citizens and visitors.” Saaduddin said his ministry will look into the complaints filed by Egyptian holders of entry visas to Kuwait, noting that as it is not the summer vacation, their numbers are limited and will be discussed and sorted out.
Meanwhile, Egyptian ambassador to Kuwait Tareq Al-Qouni said the embassy is closely watching the coronavirus developments in Kuwait, and emphasized that no infections have so far been detected amongst Egyptians living in Kuwait or amongst those who arrived in Kuwait through various border posts in the past period.
Qouni stressed constant communication with the Egyptian side, namely with regards to examining Egyptians at border exits and suspending their entry visas. In addition, Qouni urged all members of the Egyptian community to follow medical prevention guidelines, avoid crowds and strictly follow related official statements.
Qouni underlined the significant care shown by the Egyptian authorities in response to the virus, noting that all related government bodies are closely monitoring the latest domestic and international developments and that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi himself had met relevant ministers urging them to be fully ready to deal with the possibility of detecting any infections according to World Health Organization (WHO) regulations.
Qouni quoted Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli’s confirmations that the Egyptian state will not hide anything and deal with the issue with full transparency, noting that Madbouli also urged relevant authorities to implement their part of the plan and coordinate daily with WHO.
Commenting on social media reports about the spread of the virus in Egypt, Qouni stressed that the total number of infected cases detected up to March 2 is only two, who were foreigners visiting Egypt and that they have been subjected to strict medical measures. He added the Egyptian health minister announced examining 1,443 suspected cases and they were all found free of any infections.
Furthermore, Qouni underlined that the health ministry has examined all the people who had mingled with the Canadian and French nationals found infected on arriving from Egypt. “There is no proof that these cases got infected in Egypt, and both countries have so far not imposed any additional precautionary measures on other people arriving from Egypt, other than the usual ones imposed on all nationalities,” Qouni underlined.
Finally, Qouni stressed that there is no good for Egypt in withholding information about the disease spreading in Egypt, especially when Egypt is fully committed to WHO standards and regulations and has always been fighting bird flu and swine flu, for instance. He also urged all media and social media networks to only procure information from reliable official sources such as WHO, which is closely working with the Egyptian government in this regard.
Separately, well-informed sources said a patient recently suspected to be infected with COVID-19 in the ministry of public works is an Egyptian who had just returned to Kuwait. The sources added that the employee was sweating and suffered from severe coughing, which made his fellow workers report him to the health ministry, which in turn advised the man to have himself checked at Jaber Hospital, where he was advised to go to Farwaniya Hospital instead.
The sources added that the man’s colleagues panicked and left the ministry building in fear that he had COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, denying that the MPW premises were evacuated, the sources stressed that it is not clear yet whether the man is infected with the virus or suffers from another aliment. The ministry has not confirmed the report as of yesterday.
In other news, the Ministry of Health (MoH) announced providing eight golf karts to serve the citizens quarantined at Khairan Resort. MoH assistant undersecretary for public services affairs Abdul Aziz Al-Tashah said the karts were made available to provide all comforts for quarantined cases 24/7.