Measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 highlighted by The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus

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The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) last night held a press conference at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research to highlight measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

HE Faeqa bint Saeed Al Saleh, Minister of Health, began by stating that the Kingdom has recorded 458 recoveries from COVID-19 thanks to the united efforts of citizens, residents and medical workers on the front line who have, together, all adopted global health protocols.

HE the Minister noted that Bahrain will continue to overcome all challenges presented by the virus with the continued support of HM King Hamad Al Khalifa who directed free COVID-19 treatment for all citizens and residents, as well as the vigorous monitoring, tracking and treatment of all suspected and active cases, led by the Ministry of Health.

HE the Minister highlighted the Kingdom’s current testing, quarantine, isolation and treatment capacity is as follows:

–  Public treatment centres capacity is 1699 beds, of which 345 are occupied

–  Private centres capacity is 172 beds, of which 4 are occupied

–  Public quarantine centres capacity stands at 2,504 beds, of which 947 are occupied

–  Private quarantine centres capacity stands at 321 beds, of which 94 are occupied

–  More than 50,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted

HE the Minister noted that the Kingdom will continue to increase access to COVID-19 testing with the introduction of drive through testing at Bahrain International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Later, HE the Minister detailed additional precautionary measures introduced by the Government Executive Committee today. These news measures include obliging citizens and residents to wear face masks when in public.

HE indicated that face masks will be made available in pharmacies and shops, highlighting that home-made masks must meet the standards outlined on the Ministry’s website.

HE the Minister concluded by highlighting that commercial and industrial premises are required to sterilize in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s regulations.

HE Zayed bin Rashid Alzayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, reiterated that national efforts to curb the virus, led by HRH the Crown Prince, preserve the well-being of citizens and residents while ensuring the continuity of economic activity.

On this note, HE underlined that movie theatres, sports centres, private swimming pools, shisha cafes, salons and tourist locations will remain closed following the decision of the Government Executive Committee, emphasisng that restaurants will continue to limit their services to delivery and takeout.

HE noted that all business to consumer enterprises will allocate their first hour of opening to the elderly and pregnant women, in order to limit their physical interaction with others in line with social distancing requirements. HE added that all non-essential medical services provided by private health clinics are to remain suspended.

Alzayani went on to explain that commercial and industrial businesses providing goods or services directly to customers, are to open and resume work provided the following conditions are met:

o  Employees and visitors are required to wear a face mask

o  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.

o  Stores must ensure continuous sterilization, including external premises, in accordance to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health

o  Queuing and line-ups outside stores must be arranged in accordance to the social distancing measures issued by the Ministry of Health

The Minister stressed that every citizen and resident has a part to play in ensuring the implementation of precautionary measures, which preserve their health and safety as well as that of the community.

For his part, Lt. Col. Manaf Al Qahtani, Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus, stressed that requiring citizens and residents to wear face masks in public will curb the spread of COVID-19.

Furthermore, Dr. Manaf underscored the impact contact tracing has on reducing the spread of the virus.

Dr. Jameela Al Salman, Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex, reviewed the health status of active cases, explaining that of the total 349 cases, 4 are in intensive care. 532 cases have left quarantine, and 458 cases have recovered.

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