Bahrain announced that all businesses, educational facilities and unnecessary services will be closed for a two week period from May 28 to June 10. The decision comes as a result of rising COVID infections reaching over 3,000 positive cases per day with over 25,000 active cases. 

The spike in cases comes as a result of late detection and the possible existence of new variants, as announced during the press conference of the National Taskforce to combat the Corona Virus on Tuesday May 26. On May 24, the Kingdom witnessed the highest numbers of deaths per day since the start of the pandemic, reaching to 28 deaths.

The Taskforce stressed the importance of practicing social distancing and taking all appropriate preventive measures. The decision to close down most activities in the kingdom includes a ban on any gatherings, both privately and publicly while allowing necessary activities such as banks, pharmacies, supermarkets and other private sector organisation to continue work with limited interactions. The King stated that Bahrain shall defeat the coronavirus in a reassuring message to citizens, as the feeling of panic and stress has been growing across Bahraini society. 

Religious clerics also called on citizens to abide by the government rules, in line with the National Taskforce’s decision to suspend most activities for a two week period. Leading Shia cleric Sayed Abdullah al-Ghuraifi was also reported to have received the COVID 19 vaccine as a step towards showing cooperation with government, measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic and stand united as a nation in facing it. 

Bahrain has taken commendable steps in combatting the corona virus. Both citizens and residents are provided with the choice to pick among a range of vaccines including Pfizer, Sinopharm, Sputnik and Astra Zeneca’s COVID Shield. More than 897,000 have received the first dose of the vaccine and more than 758,000 individuals have received both doses of the vaccines, meaning Bahrain in recent months has managed one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world. 

Vaccine passports have also been issued for all those who have received both doses on the Be Aware application. More than 900 deaths have been registered since February 2020. 

A week prior to the semi lockdown, Bahrain welcomed thousands of Saudi citizens who were finally allowed to travel to Bahrain following a year of suspending unnecessary travel to Bahrain due to Saudi’s COVID measures. Bahraini businesses were looking forward to receiving more Saudis as the hospitality industry recorded a notable increase in hotel reservation during that weekend. 

The government is also taking measures against all those not abiding to the rules or spreading false news regarding the pandemic, in order to avoid the spread of panic in the society. Earlier last month, legal action was taken against a number of Bahrainis who did not abide by the quarantine rules. 

There have been widespread calls for the public to do all they can to abide by rules and recommendations in order to keep themselves and their loved-ones safe and obstruct the further spread of the virus. Given high levels of vaccination and stringent measures it is hoped that the worst of this virus will soon be past us.

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