The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) highlights measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

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Manama,  Apr. 21(BNA):  The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) highlights measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.


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


HE Faeqa bint Saeed Al Saleh, Minister of Health, began by extending her best wishes to citizens and residents on the upcoming commencement of the holy month of Ramadan.


Recognising that social and religious gatherings are central to the holy month, HE the Minister noted that social distancing measures have been introduced to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.


HE the Minister went on to outline that based on the recommendations of the National Medical Task Force to Combat the COVID-19, the following preventative measures were reiterated:


• Iftar (breaking fast) should be limited to small family gatherings

• Refraining from organising and/or attending Ramadan Majlises and Ghabga’s

• Refraining from hosting public Iftar banquets

• Refraining from Gerga’oun and Weda’ gatherings

• Refrain from the public distribution of iftar packages

• Zakat Al-Fitr kiosks will be replaced with electronic platforms and applications for the collection and distribution of Zakat Al-Fitr


HE Zayed R. Alzayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, affirmed that food reserves remain sufficient to ensure the supply of essential food during the holy month of Ramadan.


HE the Minister underlined that the following commercial and industrial businesses providing goods or services directly to customers will continue to operate as usual:


- Hypermarkets, supermarkets, cold stores, butchers, as well as stores that sell vegetables, fish or meat;

- All forms of bakeries;

- Natural gas fueling stations and liquid fueling stations

- Hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and opticians;

- Banks and money exchange agencies;

- Factories and manufacturing enterprises;

- Administrative offices of enterprises whose activities do not involve direct interaction with customers;

- Enterprises that export, import or distribute goods;

- Automotive workshops and garages, and shops that sell spare parts;

- Enterprises in the construction and maintenance sector.


HE the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism also underlined that effective from 19h00 on 23 April 2020 until 07 May 2020, the following will be implemented:


- Movie theatres, commercial sports gymnasiums, fitness studios, swimming pools, and centres for recreational activities and Salons will remain closed;

- Shisha Cafes, and services offered by these cafes, are limited to takeout and delivery of food only;

- Restaurants, tourist facilities and locations serving food are to remain limited to external orders and delivery services;

- All non-essential medical services provided by private health clinics are to remain suspended;

- The first hour of grocery store openings remains dedicated to the elderly and pregnant women;

- Public gatherings are to remain limited to 5 individuals or fewer. Individuals are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, and only leave home when necessary;

- Face masks are to be worn by all citizens and residents when in public;

- Commercial and industrial enterprises providing goods or services directly to customers are to be limited to online sales and deliveries;

- Telecom service centres will provide customer services under necessary circumstances, while abiding by social distancing measures.


HE noted that restaurants will continue to limit their services to delivery and takeout, and all business to consumer enterprises will continue to 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 measures.


HE the Minister noted that the Ministry will launch an online platform on Thursday, accessible at www.mall.bh, to bolster online sales and has invited all businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to register by calling 17574972 or emailing mall@moic.gov.bh. Registration is free, with 100 businesses having already registered so far.


Lt. Gen. Tariq Al Hassan, Chief of Public Security and Head of the National Disaster Management Committee, confirmed that the Ministry of Interior, led by Gen. HE Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Minister of Interior, has identified locations in which the Ministry will move expatriate workers, in response to the directives issued by the Government Executive Committee to reduce density within expatriate workers accommodation.


Speaking on the plan, Al Hassan highlighted that the Ministry has phased the movement of expatriate workers to ensure that living standards are held to maintain a healthy lifestyle, along with the continued testing and quarantining of suspected cases.


Al Hassan went on to note that the Ministry is contributing towards curbing the spread of COVID-19 by conducting field visits in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, spraying disinfectants in public spaces via the General Directorate for Civil Defence and by conducting random COVID-19 testing across the Kingdom.


Al Hassan added that the Kingdom has made COVID-19 related information available in multiple languages to maximise understanding of the threat presented by the spread of the virus, and to ensure expatriate communities adhere to precautionary measures.


On this note, Al Hassan remarked that Bahrainis remain highly aware of preventive measures, such as wearing masks in public settings, social distancing recommendations, and personal hygiene, and expressed his confidence that such practices will be maintained throughout the Holy Month of Ramadan.


HE welcomed the support provided by volunteers who, together with local authorities, have strengthened national efforts to tackle the spread of COVID-19.


Lt. Col. Manaf Al Qahtani, Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus, highlighted that the increase in active COVID-19 cases reported during the past week is an expected result of the rigorous random testing efforts conducted by the Ministry of Health's mobile testing units across the Kingdom.


Dr. Manaf added that increased testing has facilitated the swift identification of active cases and the delivery of medical treatment, as well as the timely isolation of contacts of active cases.


In addition, Dr. Manaf stated that Bahrain has begun convalescent plasma transfusions trials on COVID-19 patients, a process proven effective, thanking all recovered cases for their cooperation.


Dr. Jameela Al Salman, Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex, reviewed the health status of active cases, confirming 1,162 cases, of which 2 are critical. Dr Al Salman also confirmed 1,384 cases have left quarantine, and 783 cases have recovered.


AHN