Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments has announced that it will postpone the resumption of Friday prayers following recent increases in numbers of Coronavirus cases. Mosques had been set to open from 5 June, however, there is widespread consensus about the need for extreme care to avoid an acceleration in the infection rate.

The government has warned that many of the new infections are due to insufficient caution among segments of the public over the festive period of Ramadan and Eid. According to one official: “The increase in cases is due to the failure of citizens to abide by precautionary measures as well as public gatherings during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.”

In the first weeks of the virus, cases were mostly being identified among recent arrivals to the Kingdom, particularly from Iran. Later on, the bulk of cases were found among the predominantly Asian expat workforce, who often lived in crowded conditions which facilitated the spread of the infection. Only in recent days have the majority of new cases been identified among native Bahrainis, raising concerns that this could represent a new phase for the spread of the virus if citizens fail to behave with sufficient care and diligence.

There are currently 5,385 known ongoing virus cases, with 7,410 people having recovered. According to statistics, 60 per cent of Covid-19 cases in Bahrain have recovered, giving the Kingdom the highest rates of recovery in the region. Bahrain’s infection levels compare with 91,182 cases in Saudi Arabia and 29,359 in Kuwait.

More than 300,000 Covid-19 tests have now been conducted. Medical capacity has also steadily increased, with the number of beds in government isolation and treatment facilities now at 7,187, of which 4,884 are occupied. There are 3,410 beds for quarantine, of which 599 are occupied .

There have been renewed efforts in recent days by medical officials to reach out to the public and emphasize the importance of abiding by precautionary measures, including the wearing of masks. High levels of awareness about the virus are indicated by the fact that around 635,000 people are now using Bahrain’s dedicated BeAware app, representing around half of the total population.

INJAZ Bahrain has announced the launch of a series of online educational and vocational programmes, in response to the epidemic challenge. The online programmes “aim to instill and educate students on work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy, while at home”.

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