The National Medical 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 provide an update on the COVID-19 response in the Kingdom.
The Taskforce began by praising HM the King’s directives to provide a safe COVID-19 vaccine for all citizens and residents within the Kingdom, which reflects HM the King’s continued support to the safety of the Kingdom’s community. The Taskforce further praised HRH the Crown Prince’s directives to allocate seats for frontline health workers and first responders and their families, at the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix and the Formula 1 Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix, in appreciation of their tireless efforts in supporting the Kingdom’s national response to COVID-19.
The Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), HE Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, highlighted the Kingdom’s readiness to host both the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, and the Formula One Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix, adding that all precautionary and preventative measures and protocols have been adopted to ensure the health and safety of all.
HE Dr. Waleed further highlighted that registration is open frontline health workers and first responders and their families, to attend both races by applying via the National Volunteer Platform, adding that priority will be given to those who pre-register in accordance with the terms and conditions.
HE Dr. Waleed went on to note Team Bahrain’s relentless efforts in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, including first responders, medical professionals, military and security staff and professionals, as well as government agencies. HE Dr. Waleed extended his gratitude, noting that their efforts will not be forgotten and will be forever be etched in the Kingdom’s history.
Turning to the Kingdom’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, HE Dr. Al Manea emphasised that the Kingdom has ordered more than one million vaccines since last August from several companies, and will be one of the first countries to receive the vaccines as soon as they are approved by the National Health Regulatory Authority and international health organizations.
Highlighting the Kingdom’s extensive PCR testing methods, HE Dr. Waleed announced that two million PCR tests have been done so far in Bahrain, a further achievement accomplished thanks to the efforts of the Kingdom’s medical first responders and supporting staff.
HE Dr. Waleed noted that with two million PCR tests being carried out in Bahrain, more than 50% of the Kingdom’s population has been tested at least once, which strengthens the Kingdom’s ranking in the rate of testing per 1000 people on a global level. In this regard, HE Dr. Waleed congratulated the first responders and their supporting staff on this milestone, praising their efforts and underlining the importance of continuing to ensure the safety of the community.
HE Dr. Waleed highlighted that Kingdom’s wide-ranging precautionary measures and strategies has received international recognition, and has placed the Kingdom at the forefront of COVID-19 country responses worldwide. The United Kingdom’s recent announcement of adding Bahrain to the safe “travel corridors”, allowing citizens to travel to the UK without having to quarantine, is a testimony to this.
Turning to patient outcomes, Dr. Al Manea advised that the current recovery rate is 97.84% with a 0.39% death rate. Isolation centre capacity stands at 6%, with 416 out of 6,346 beds occupied, and 1,094 asymptomatic cases under optional home self-isolation after meeting the requirements to do so.
HE Dr. Waleed emphasised the importance of continuing to follow all health and precautionary measures issued by the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and relative authorities, in order to eradicate the virus.
The Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Lt. Col. Dr. Manaf Al Qahtani, began his remarks by expressing gratitude to the Kingdom’s frontline health workers and first responders for their efforts in combating the COVID-19, adding that the Kingdom has made great progress across various areas to ensure the eradication of the virus.
Turning to the technology used by the Kingdom in its mitigation efforts, Dr. Al Qahtani highlighted the launch of the 15-minute COVID-19 Rapid Antigen test. He also spoke about the ability to report results via the new service launched by the “BeAware Bahrain” app, which allows users to immediately send their test results to the Ministry of Health. Upon sending the results, an SMS report serial number is sent to the user who is then contacted by a medical professional.
Dr. Al Qahtani noted that reporting results of the Rapid Antigen tests are only required by those who test positive, to ensure they receive the necessary assistance, and reporting is optional for those who test negative. In this regard, Dr. Al Qahtani highlighted that regardless of the Rapid Antigen test results, any individual experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should immediately contact the hotline no. 444.
Dr. Manaf clarified that the list of pharmacies providing the Rapid Antigen Testing kit is regularly updated on the Ministry of Health’s website: healthalert.gov.bh
Dr. Manaf reiterated that the Rapid Antigen Test does not substitute the PCR nasopharyngeal swab, and that a positive Rapid Antigen result may not indicate infection, and must be followed by a PCR test, which remains the official diagnostic test used by the Kingdom. Dr. Manaf further reiterated the importance of continuing to follow all precautionary measures, for the safety of the Kingdom.
For her part, the Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex and member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr. Jameela Salman, also extended her gratitude to the Kingdom’s first responders and their supporting staff for the sacrifices they have made to ensure the safety of all.
Dr Al Salman highlighted her confidence in Bahrain’s capabilities of hosting the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix and the Formula One Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix during the exceptional circumstances presented by COVID-19.
Dr. Al Salman noted that these two races will draw attention to Bahrain and its successes across various fields particularly its national response to COVID-19, stressing that the Ministry of Health’s team has acquired a thorough understanding of the medical requirements and skills needed for this particular event. Dr. Al Salman further noted the importance of the role played by Team Bahrain’s participating medical team, adding that the medical protocols adopted will ensure the success of this year’s races.
In this regard, Dr. Al Salman expressed her hopes that the national efforts made to ensure the success of a safe racing season will be added as another achievement to the Kingdom’s record of accomplishments.
Dr. Al Salman underlined the importance of continuing to responsibly follow all health and precautionary measures, including following social distancing measures and wearing a face mask when out in public at all times. Dr. Al Salman added that the success of lowering infection rates has come as a collective and responsible effort of all in following health measures at all times.
Dr. Al Salman emphasised the Ministry’s continued commitment to ensure early detection of infections, by expanding testing and treatment methods.
Dr. Al Salman reviewed the health status of active cases, confirming 1,500 stable cases from a total of 1,510 active cases. Currently, 28 COVID-19 cases are receiving treatment, and 10 cases are in a critical condition.