The Cabinet gave its nod yesterday to allow the return of domestic helpers to Kuwait from all foreign countries in a move that could allow thousands of maids to return after they were barred by the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Minister Sheikh Basel Al-Sabah has meanwhile told the Cabinet that the number of deaths in the country from coronavirus has been increasing, but the number of cases at intensive care units has stabilized.
During its extraordinary meeting, the Cabinet approved a plan put forward by the authorities to allow the return of domestic helpers and asked the concerned authorities to complete legal aspects and detailed procedures for their return, according to government spokesman Tareq Al-Mezrem. The plan should be carried out while implementing all necessary health precautions, the Cabinet said, stressing on the need that all returnees undergo compulsory quarantine in special houses for two weeks.
The plan consists of two parts; the first involves the procedures of travel which begin with the sponsors registering their helpers online and then managing their arrival at Kuwait Airport and transporting then to the quarantines. The second part involves the financial affairs of the quarantines and other logistical procedures including transportation, catering and medical tests.
The Cabinet statement did not provide details about the cost of repatriating the maids, but it asked concerned authorities to complete the necessary legal procedures and the details of the plan. Kuwait has barred tens of thousands of expats from some 34 countries to return to the country over concerns of spreading the coronavirus. Those countries include India, Egypt, Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which have the largest expat communities in Kuwait.
The sources added that as many as 365,000 expats who have valid residence permits in the country, are currently living abroad, adding that 132,000 expats are living illegally in the country and around 40,000 of them are expected to benefit from a new amnesty starting next month to legalize their stay.