Bahrain has continued to make significant progress in confronting Coronavirus. As noted by Health Minister Faeqa al-Saleh at the latest press conference; efforts so far have prevented widespread contagion of the disease inside the Kingdom, with the majority of incidences of infection originating from outside Bahrain. There are 167 ongoing recorded cases, with 88 further individuals having already recovered, and nearly 13,000 people tested so far. Only four cases are considered critical.
Throughout the GCC region as a whole there have now been over one thousand cases recorded. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Iran, according to official statistics, there have been 853 deaths and around 15,000 infections, although many international experts believe that the real levels of infection are many times higher.
Around thirty new cases have been logged over the past week. However, the majority of these were among citizens repatriated from Iran, including a 65-year-old woman with underlying health conditions who tragically died. This has been Bahrain’s only fatality to date. Hundreds of prisoners pardoned and released by the authorities last week have been tested and were found to be clear of the virus.
GCC states have introduced a range of measures of varying severity. For example; Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have suspended all international flights and closed most public spaces. Bahrain, meanwhile, has tried to steer an intermediate path; vigorously identifying all those who may have introduced infection from overseas and people they may have come into contact with; while seeking to ensure that daily life goes on as normally as possible, with shops and malls remaining open.
Communities from other parts of the Middle East living in Bahrain, such as the extensive Lebanese community, have fulsomely welcomed the stringent measures to keep citizens and residents safe. While the virus is impacting everybody’s way of life, the drastic measures taken by GCC states like Bahrain have had a decisive impact in reducing the spread of the virus. Meanwhile in states like Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan, the virus has largely been left to take its course. The absence of systematic testing has made it almost impossible for citizens in many states to be kept informed of the risks to their health.
In particular, it has been important to ensure that citizens aren’t adversely affected by a significant economic downturn. The Kingdom’s leadership has furthermore tried to ensure maximum transparency, with continual press conferences and updates about numbers of cases and public advice.