National efforts to prevent spread of COVID-19 highlighted

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The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) yesterday held a press conference highlighting updates on national efforts and strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Hospital.

The Chief Executive of the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA), HE Mohammed Ali Al Qaed, affirmed that the Kingdom’s efforts aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19, led by HRH the Crown Prince, are designed to safeguard the health and safety of citizen and residents.

HE Al Qaed noted the iGA’s technical contributions to COVID-19 containment efforts, adding that the “BeAware” app has been officially launched following the success of its beta version, which has been tested by patients and volunteers across the Kingdom.

On this note, HE Al Qaed further added that the innovative app is a mandatory download for individuals undergoing treatment and observation, as it provides the relevant authorities with the opportunity to follow-up with patients under treatment or self-isolation. HE Al Qaed then directed all to download the app, which utilises location data to alert individuals in the event they approach an active case or a location that an active case has visited, while providing health guidelines and recommendations and highlighting local and global COVID-19 developments.

HE Al Qaed concluded by emphasising the iGA’s continued commitment to supporting relevant entities in working remotely, in line with directives issued by the Government’s Executive Committee, chaired by HRH the Crown Prince, adding that the iGA has provided technical solutions and e-facilities to ensure government ministries and authorities use safe internal systems and web networks.

The Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health, Dr Waleed Al Manea, highlighted the Kingdom’s precise and carefully studied decisions made to contain the COVID-19, beginning with the establishment of an operations room, as directed by HRH the Crown Prince, as well as the provision of transparent facts and statistics, adding that these efforts have been recognised and praised by international organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Al Manea went on to note the high-level of awareness and social responsibility exhibited by the Kingdom’s citizens, which has contributed to the success of efforts to contain the virus.

Dr. Al Manea outlined that the Ministry of Health continues to implement various guidelines in line with ongoing circumstances to support all medical efforts needed. In this regard, Dr. Al Manea added that current medical capacity continues to exceed occupancy rates, as current isolation and treatment centres have a capacity of 1,667 beds, of which only 268 beds are occupied, while the capacity of quarantine centres is 2504 beds, with a current occupancy of 277 beds. Dr. Al Manea highlighted that the Ministry of Health has also provided permits for private sector hospitals to provide necessary health care for those who wish to be treated privately.

Dr. Al Manea emphasized that the Ministry of Health has recently begun random medical tests, via mobile testing units, across the Kingdom. Dr. Al Manea further extended gratitude to all the authorities collaborating with the Ministry of Health to contain the spread of COVID-19, and in particular the Ministry of Interior, represented by the General Directorate of Civil Defence, who have disinfected various areas and provided awareness campaigns across the Kingdom.

Later, the Infectious Diseases Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and Member of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus, Lt. Col. Dr. Manaf Al Qahtani, commended the Kingdom’s health system, adding that the Kingdom has invested in medical testing laboratories, enhanced medical capacities, and has provided the necessary protective medical supplies needed. Dr. Al Qahtani added that the Kingdom’s medical sector continues to operate normally, adding that Bahrain is the first country to participate in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Solidarity Trial”, testing the first COVID-19 treatment.

Dr. Al Qahtani noted that the current strategy to contain the spread of the COVID-19 is the ‘Trace, Test, Treat’ strategy, which ensures a comprehensive treatment approach, under a specialised medical team.

On this note, Dr. Al Qahtani presented a case registration index of the first 100 active COVID-19 cases registered in comparison to other countries, showing the Kingdom’s increased recovery rates. Dr. Al Qahtani explained this can be attributed to the success of the health guidelines issued, including social distancing measures, closure of non-essential retail businesses, and the encouragement of remote working.

Dr. Al Qahtani emphasised that the medical workforce continues to provide the necessary care in line with protocols followed by the WHO, adding that all individuals who complete their 14-day quarantine are to be re-tested at the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre as a precautionary measure.

The Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex, Dr. Jameela Al Salman, reiterated the Kingdom’s success thus far in containing the spread of COVID-19, adding that there are a total of 268 active COVID-19 cases, of which all are stable except for two cases. Dr. Al Salman further added that only 18% of cases require medication.

Dr. Al Salman noted that 472 individuals have left quarantine, and 295 individuals have fully recovered from COVID-19 and have been discharged from isolation. Dr. Al Salman concluded the conference by highlighting that the Kingdom continues to develop its treatment protocols, in line with international practices deemed successful among other countries.

Dr. Al Salman reiterated that the health of citizens and residents remains a top priority and emphasised the importance of all continued joint efforts in combating the COVID-19 and the observation of guidelines issued by the authorities.

BNA(R)

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