Combating the Coronavirus, Bahrain Offers Health & Economic

|Apr 16|magazine21 min read

MANAMA, Bahrain, April 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kingdom of Bahrain's handling of the Coronavirus offers a beacon of hope to other countries wanting to emulate its example, even as the world battles rising numbers of cases.

"On Feb. 24, the island state of Bahrain recorded is first COVID-19 case, when a school bus driver who had recently traveled home from pilgrimage in Iran by way of Dubai tested positive. Alarm bells immediately went off. With a population of 1.5 million in an area the size of New York City (300 square miles), Bahrain is the world's third most densely populated country (after Monaco and Singapore). Significant numbers of its citizens travel regularly to Iran and Iraq, which are regional epicenters of the pandemic. This combustible mix of exposure and crowding had the potential to decimate Bahrain's population. Yet after only five weeks, the Bahraini authorities have succeeded in containing the virus.

What is the secret to Bahrain's success?

April 10 (UPI) By : Adam Ereli served as U.S. Ambassador to the kingdom of Bahrain from 2007 to 2011

BAHRAIN ACTIONS AND REPONSE TO COVID-19: FACTSHEET

FREE COVID-19 TESTING AND TREATMENT FOR ALL CITIZENS AND RESIDENTS

  • HM the King has issued Royal Directives to provide free COVID-19 testing and treatment for all citizens and residents in the Kingdom of Bahrain
  • This step will save lives, ensuring all citizens and residents in need receive swift and comprehensive medical care
  • Secondly, it will help to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 as no-one need worry about costs associated with being tested or follow-up medical care. Without HM's intervention, some may have delayed seeking tests or treatment

GENERAL

  • A comprehensive medical protocol based on guidelines set out by the Gulf Health Council (GHG) and the World Health Organization (WHO) has been established
  • Public health announcements have been circulated in different languages via national TV and broadcast channels, social media, and regular press conferences
  • The National Task for Combatting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is currently implementing the 'Trace, Test, Treat' strategy, which ensures a comprehensive approach to tracking and treating all active COVID-19 cases, under a specialised medical team
  • The WHO has commended the Kingdom for enacting a comprehensive national strategy, led by HRH the Crown Prince and a dedicated COVID-19 response team
  • Bahrain becomes one of the first countries in the world to use Hydroxychloroquine to treat the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • The Ministry of Health has also implemented a mobile testing process to test individuals returning from COVID-19 affected countries and provide them with the necessary care should they prove to carry the virus
  • The Supreme Council for Women (SCW) has started field work as part of the "Together for Bahrain's Safety". Basic commodities and health supplies were distributed to families supported by Bahraini women, based on the lists on needy households whose living conditions are being monitored by the council.
  • Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) has launched the home delivery service of prescribed medicines to ensure the health, safety and comfort of the patients as part of the precautionary measures implemented by the kingdom to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • As per the directives of HM King Hamad, the Minister of Information Affairs says that all GCC citizen will be treated as Bahraini.
  • Field visits across the Kingdom are also underway to collect random medical samples via mobile testing units, in order to safeguard the health and safety of the community
  • A fully dedicated testing center has been set up at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Conference Centre
  • The Kingdom has one of the highest testing rates per capita in the world, garnering the recognition of the World Health Organization for its agile response.
  • Bahrain was also the first Arab country to join the WHO's "Solidarity Trial" to find effective treatment for the virus.

MEASURES – CONTAINMENT

  • A number of regional flights have been reduced or suspended
  • All educational institutions, including public and private schools and institutions of higher learning, have been closed until further notice, and remote teaching has been instituted
  • Various government entities are providing their services online for citizens and residents
  • Detailed social distancing guidelines have been published. Individuals are advised to remain at home, with the exception for those who commute to and from work, those buying medication or essential necessities or visiting a hospital
  • All citizens and residents are required to wear face masks whilst in public
  • Commercial and industrial businesses providing goods or services directly to customers, are to open and resume work provided the following conditions are met:
    • Employees and visitors are required to wear a face mask
    • The number of employees in any facility is reduced and overcrowding in stores is actively prevented to ensure sufficient social distancing measures are maintained at all times.
    • Stores must ensure continuous sterilization, including external premises, in accordance to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health
    • Queuing line-ups outside stores must be arranged in accordance to the social distancing measures issued by the Ministry of Health
  • The Ministry of Health, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior, has begun announcing contact tracing information via the Ministry of Health's website. Locations visited by contacts of active cases of COVID-19 along with dates and times, are listed to ensure other citizens and residents are able to identify whether they have been exposed to active cases
  • The iGA has developed and released an app which advances contact tracing efforts by utilises location data to alert individuals in the event they approach an active case or a location an active case has visited and track the movement of quarantine cases for a duration of 14 days.
  • In line with the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister to deploy emerging technologies to help mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Information & eGovernment Authority has begun distributing electronic bracelets compatible with the Kingdom's COVID-19 contact tracing app, 'BeAware'.
  • Medical examinations been conducted by Ministry of Health for all citizens and residents who have visited the Islamic Republic of Iran during the month of February, as part of comprehensive precautionary measures that have been activated in light of the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

MEASURES – ECONOMIC

  • A BHD 4.3bn economic stimulus package, equivalent to 29.6% of Bahrain's annual GDP, has been introduced
  • Individuals and businesses Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) utility bills will be paid for three months from April 2020. Additionally, all individuals and businesses will be exempt from municipal fees, industrial land rental fees and tourism fees for three months from April 2020
  • The Liquidity Support Fund has been doubled to BHD 200 million and Tamkeen programmes have been redirected to support adversely affected companies
  • Termination of monthly work fees and fees for issuing and renewing work permits for a period of three months from April 2020.
  • All loan installments for Bahraini national will be delayed by six months. The waiver is in line with the royal directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa to unify all national efforts to avert the spread of the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Bahrain and protect the health and safety of citizens and residents.
  • As per the precautionary measures, the Health Minister suspending the BD7 medical consultation fee, stipulated in edict 2 of 2017 on health fees for non-Bahrainis.

9 MONTH GRACE PERIOD FOR ILLEGAL WORKERS

  • The Labour Market Regulatory Authority has an introduced a 9-month grace period for all illegal workers in the Kingdom of Bahrain
  • This comes in the wake of the global outbreak of COVID-19 and is a humanitarian decision to help these workers legalise their status amid this pressing time
  • The amnesty will allow undocumented foreign workers to either legalise their stay or leave as part of measures to offset the impact of Covid-19.
  • This is a humanitarian gesture in these extraordinary times to ensure irregular workers can either leave the country or lead to gainful employment
  • We want to ensure the safety of all expatriates in the country and health care access during these times

INTERNATIONAL COVID-19 REPATRIATION PROGRAMME (ICRP)

  • The International COVID-19 Repatriation Programme (ICRP) has been established to ensure citizens are repatriated safely and as quickly as possible. The ICRP has been in operation since 11 March.
  • The ICRP is a clinically managed programme to safely repatriate citizens from Iran and other COVID-19 affected countries. Every step of the ICRP process is supervised by specialist medical officials, in line with WHO guidelines.
  • The ICRP process includes the chartering of specialist aircraft, the provision of necessary medical equipment, and dedicated quarantine and isolation facilities to ensure returning citizens receive immediate medical care

Public Awareness Campaign to Combat COVID-19

  • A multilingual public awareness campaign has been launched
  • The campaign is active and continues to put out announcements, guidelines and instructions in several languages
  • The MOH website https://www.moh.gov.bh/COVID19 is regularly updated in this regard and we urge you and your respected citizens to check it regularly
  • The national call centre dedicated for COVID-19 (444) is accessible by all and translation services are available
  • Your respected citizens are encouraged to contact the line whenever any COVID-19 symptoms or inquiries arise

Note:

Lates update of Bahraini total tested, dischaged, deaths, status and active cases

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