Filipino medical staff, who are stranded in the Philippines sent an urgent appeal to the Kuwait Ministry of Health and other concerned government authorities to grant them the same permission, and make arrangements, so they can enter the country on Saturday after 116 stranded Indian MOH nurses traveled via a Chartered Kuwait Airways direct flight from India to Kuwait on Friday night, a local daily reported.

A large number of expatriates from 34 countries are currently stuck abroad due to precautionary measures introduced by the authorities to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.

The stranded Filipino MOH staff mostly composed of nurses had earlier requested the assistance of the Philippine Embassy in July, who at their behest sent a letter with details of the stranded MOH staff in the Philippines to the MOH in July.

However, till date, there has been no response, and the group is awaiting approval to return to the country from the MOH approval. One of the nurses spoke to the local daily over the phone, stated that the group is appealing to the kindness of Kuwait Health Minister Dr. Basil Al-Sabah to please allow them to enter Kuwait.

“We want to go back to work and help Kuwait in its fight against COVID-19,” said she.

There are around 80 stranded Filipino MOH staff including their dependents, who are waiting for the travel clearance from the Kuwait Ministry of Health and other concerned authorities. It has been more than six months now that the majority of them are stuck outside Kuwait, and for some, their visas have already expired.

The Kuwait Ambassador to the Philippine Musaed Saleh Ahmad AlThwaikh gave a promise to do his best to help them by conveying their appeal to the Kuwaiti government, after the group turned to him for assistance.

A few of the stranded Filipino MOH staff decided to fly to Dubai to wait for the required period before journeying to Kuwait, as arrivals were allowed from countries not on the 34 country ban list. However, the majority are forced to battle uncertainly as they hope for a decision from the MOH, citing no financial backing to make a similar endeavor via a non-banned country.

A nurse revealed to the local daily that they want to fly via Dubai but can’t due to financial reasons. “Most of us don’t have money anymore. We hope to be back to Kuwait soon,” she said.  Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy is closely monitoring the plight of the stranded MOH nurses. “We have already sent a note verbal to the Kuwait Ministry of Health last July. The decision is now in the hands of Health Minister Dr. Basil Al-Sabah. We are hoping that they will consider our request for the immediate return of our stranded MOH nurses,” said the local daily quoting a statement by the Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Mohd Noordin Pendosina Lomondot.

Despite the ongoing ban against passengers from 34 countries entering Kuwait directly from their countries, a new batch of 116 Indian nurses have been granted special permission and landed in Kuwait from India last week.

The newly arrived were subject to a swab test to check their coronavirus infection status before being transferred to home quarantine under regulations outlined by the Ministry of Health (MoH).  Sources at MoH said that around 400 male and female nurses have so far arrived in Kuwait from India in batches, and that other batches will soon be granted permission to enter Kuwait. In recent weeks, many of the stranded expatriates from specific professions deemed necessary to provide essential services in Kuwait were granted exemptions and allowed to enter.

More than 1000 health personnel, who are employed as doctors, nurses, radiology technicians and laboratory staff remain stranded abroad, most of them from India.