Manama, Mar. 3(BNA): The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) today held a press briefing at the Crown Prince Center for Training and Medical Research to discuss the latest developments related to the COVID-19.
HE Faeqa bint Saeed Al Saleh, Minister of Health, began by expressing appreciation for the support offered by HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister for all precautionary measures taken against COVID-19, and reserved special praise for the efforts of the National Taskforce to Combat Coronavirus, headed by Lt.-Gen Dr. Shaikh Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.
HE the Minster noted that Bahrain continues to enhance its precautionary measures, alongside its coordination with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
HE the Minister outlined the integrated efforts of the Kingdom’s medical personnel, noting their dedication, vigilance and tireless efforts towards combating the virus.
Later, Lt. Col. Dr. Manaf Al Qahtani, Infectious Diseases Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and Member of the National Taskforce for Combating COVID-19, outlined the measures Bahrain has taken amid global outbreak, as follows:
· February 11th: HRH the Crown Prince directed the formation of an operations room to monitor all COVID-19 related developments
· February 13th: The operations room was operational
· February 14: Operations room personnel were familiarised with the crisis communications manual and trained to activate it, alongside the multilingual Public Awareness campaign
· February 14 to 18: Operations room personnel assessed readiness and prepared a national response strategy amid the global outbreak of the virus
· February 20th: Introduced a hotline for inquiries related to COVID-19 (444) as well as introducing a designated COVID-19 operation room at Bahrain International Airport
· February 21st: Intensified passenger screening process at Bahrain International Airport and denied entry of those visiting or returning from countries with high infection rates
· February 21st: Activated procedures for quarantine, isolation and treatment
· February 22 to 24th: A tent was set up at Bahrain International Airport to test all passengers coming from COVID-19-affected countries
· February 24th: Recorded first active case in the Kingdom – an indvidual returning from Iran via an indirect flight
· February 29th: Introduced a mobile testing process to swiftly examine individuals who had returned from Iran in February before the country announced the pandemic
Dr. Manaf noted that Bahrain will continue its epidemiological monitoring at entry points, and that the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to enhance its work-streams to increase testing, quarantine, isolation and treatment capacities.
Highlighting the health status of the patients, Dr. Manaf noted the following:
• 47 of the total 49 active cases do not require any medication, with only 2 cases needing necessary medication
• 12 individuals authorised to leave quarantine following the completion of a 14-day quarantine
• The recently introduced mobile testing process has completed collecting samples from 1,200 individuals who have returned from Iran in February before the country announced a pandemic
• The Ministry’s dedicated laboratories have completed testing 600 of the 1,200 samples collected thus far, all of which tested negative
Dr. Jameela Al Salman, Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex, underlined the health status of the 49 active cases, the procedures taken prior to releasing individuals from quarantine, and the health status of those currently in quarantine.