Kuwait, April 03, 2020: Twenty four Indian expatriates have tested positive for Covid 19 on Wednesday in Kuwait, signaling that New Delhi will have to keep an eye on the cnnditions of millions of Indian workers in the Gulf, where the footprint of novel Coronavirus is gradually expanding.
The daily Kuwait Times quoting Kuwaiti Health Ministry, reported on Thursday that 28 new coronavirus cases have been reported beteween April 1 and April 27, of whom are expats, including 24 Indians, two Bangladeshis and one Nepali. This raises the total number of Covid 19 cases in Kuwait to 317.
In its drive to fight the Covid 19 outbreak, Kuwait officials have also granted an amnesty to undocumented expats, many of whom live in congested areas, in insanitary conditions, where novel Coronavirus clusters could develop. Kuwaiti Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh has announced that residency violators could leave the country without paying any fines or airfare , and with a chance to return to Kuwait later. The Ministry added that this amnesty was issued in view of the circumstances the country is currently going through and as part of the precautionary measures taken to fight COVID-19.
Undocumented expats would be lodged in designated centers till the time arrangements are made to fly them out of the country.
Modi speaks to Kuwait PM
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait. During the conversation, both leaders “discussed the domestic and international aspects of the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic” and “agreed that their officials would maintain regular contact during the health crisis, in order to exchange information and explore avenues of cooperation and mutual support,” a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement said. The Prime Minister has also engaged in similar conversations earlier with the Amir of Qatar and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi as well as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia — countries with large Indian expat populations.
In other Gulf countries, the Health Ministry in Bahrain has announced that that nine Indians had been diagnosed, among 37 expatriates who had contracted the disease. There were 228 active Covid-19 cases in the Kingdom, as of Wednesday evening.
In Qatar, the country’s largest labour camp in Doha has been put under lockdown. The government has set aside more than $800m to pay the wages of migrant workers who are in quarantine or undergoing treatment for Covid-19, the Global Construction Review is reporting on its website. A hospital in the industrial area has been turned into a dedicated Covid-19 facility. “Labour accommodation camps are notoriously overcrowded, and lack in adequate water and sanitation meaning that workers are inevitably less able to protect themselves from the virus,”Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Issues, has been quoted as saying.
The United Arab Emirates has refrained from identifying the nationality of Covid-19 patients. Nevertheless the country’s Ministry of Health and Prevention is reporting that an Asian national and another from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had died. It announced on Wednesday 150 new cases of the novel coronavirus had surfaced, taking the total number of cases to 814.
Earlier, The Hindu had cited evidence that a majority of the Covid-19 cases in north Kerala, especially in Karasagod district, could be linked to Naif neighbourhood, one of the densely populated areas in the emirate of Dubai in the UAE.