By Abdellatif Sharaa
Since the coronavirus crisis began, I noticed that all my neighbors keep to their apartments, while those who working at various health facilities around Kuwait only leave home to board their transport vehicles taking them to their workplaces. But last night I heard a knock at the door.
I found two of my neighbors standing with a petition in their hands asking the landlord to consider easing arrangements for rent payment under the current circumstances, and of course I signed it without hesitation. I really felt very comfortable at the spirit of cooperation the residents had, because the benefit will be for all and not just the two standing at the door.
The instructions given by the health authorities must be followed by all to the letter, most important of which is staying at home. The authorities have issued several decisions including the consideration of the current break as official paid holiday, and this is something appreciated by expatriates who rely on their monthly salaries as the only source of income. But there are hundreds who work and are paid on a daily basis, who cannot earn a living unless they have a job to perform. These people live jointly to reduce the burden of rent and other expenses.
Companies with contracts with the oil sector employ hundreds of workers at all levels, and every morning I see about 10 buses with a capacity of 50 passengers each arrive every morning to take the workers to their workplaces. I wonder how these 500 workers are accommodated in apartments! What about social distancing? When the workers go to the field, they will mix with other workers who may be infected, as proven by recent discoveries in various locations in Kuwait.
There can be solutions like some co-ops have done, to use schools and sports clubs to house some workers to reduce their numbers in buildings and make sure they are coronavirus negative, and this in turn will prevent the spread of disease around the country. We must cooperate with each other and the government to place the disease in quarantine instead of it forcing us into all types of quarantines!
Back to the rent payment issue: I saw on social media a circular issued by a real estate company asking tenants to stay home. It added that they should continue paying the rent for the current month of April and upcoming months in order to avoid any legal consequences once the curfew is lifted. I hope this circular is fabricated and not true, as its wording is very strong and contrary to all initiatives taken by several companies and individual landlords.
To all property owners, I say: “Be merciful to those on earth, then Allah (God) will be merciful to you”.
Final word: “Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, and develop from the negative”. Thank you.