By Ben Garcia
KUWAIT: Because of the sudden curfew imposed by the Kuwaiti government, people came to work early yesterday and adjusted their schedules according to the curfew timings. The daily curfew from March 22 will be from 5:00 pm to 4:00 am, and violators will be penalized with three years in jail and a fine of KD 10,000. “This is the right thing to do. I pray that it will be imposed in other countries too that have a high mortality rate of coronavirus. They should be very strict about the matter because we are talking about the lives of people,” said Mustafa, 65, a Palestinian working in Shuwaikh Industrial Area.
“I have lived all my life here in Kuwait and love this country. I have never witnessed such a death toll from a virus. We really need to protect ourselves and take this very seriously. Thanks to Kuwait for its relentless efforts to safeguard not just citizens, but the lives of everyone, including expatriates like us,” he told Kuwait Times.
“Why did we need to reach this stage? If we all had followed the regulations imposed earlier, probably we would’ve been spared this curfew. Many people were still gathering outside their homes and walking around as if nothing had been imposed. The government had called for social distancing, but this was not being followed. Now maybe they will be compelled to go home early and stop socializing outside their homes,” said Sujin, 57-year-old Indian who works at the airport.
“My deepest concern is about the workers. Many shops will be closed, there will be no economic activities, and probably private companies will no longer pay salaries to these people. How can they feed their families? I pray that COVID-19 will be completely eradicated, so this curfew will not stay for long and we can all go back to our normal lives,” said Stanley, a 45-year-old human resource manager.
There are some who are not very happy with the curfew. “God bless us housemaids! Hopefully we can still rest because all members of the (employer’s) family will be home by 5 pm. This means many things to us – we don’t care whether it’s a curfew or not because we are always at home and observing a curfew the whole year round. I thank God if my boss gives me one day off a month – I am always in a state of curfew, so it is nothing to us,” said Joy, a housemaid working in Andalus.
“I hope this curfew will serve as a lesson to them that we also need to go out and socialize with people so we can feel that we are human too and not keep us inside their homes the whole year,” she remarked.
“For me it’s okay, but the timing is too early for a curfew. But I am a nurse, so we are exempted,” said Tony, a middle-aged Filipino who lives in Farwaniya with his family. Ashraf, an Egyptian, said the penalties are ridiculous. “Who can pay KD 10,000? This is too much! It’s way beyond the capacity of many people in Kuwait.”