The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) today held a press conference to provide an update on the Kingdom’s COVID-19 response, at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research, Bahrain Defence Force Hospital.
On the latest COVID-19 developments, HE Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and Member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), began by noting that Bahrain is continuing with its mitigation efforts and once again stressed the importance of adhering to precautionary measures, in particular given today’s reduction of restrictions on certain activities.
HE Dr. Al Manea acknowledged that COVID-19 vaccines are a pathway to normality and highlighted the National Vaccination Campaign’s success in working with manufacturers to make vaccines available for all citizens and residents free of charge, the most recent success being the delivery of 300,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines.
HE Dr. Al Manea noted that the Kingdom’s vaccine uptake plan is evolving, but remains focussed on reaching vulnerable citizens at greatest risk of developing complications from COVID-19, including those over 70 and those with underlying conditions or with a BMI of 25 and above.
HE Dr. Al Manea urged patients to arrive on time for their scheduled drive-thru COVID-19 test at Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre or at the Bahrain International Circuit, which is being used as a temporary COVID-19 testing site for all travel-related testing scheduled between 8th March 2021 and 20th March 2021.
HE Dr. Al Manea advised that the current recovery rate is 94.84% with a 0.37% death rate. Isolation centre capacity stands at 27%, with 1,502 out of 5,569 beds occupied, and 4,750 asymptomatic cases are under optional home self-isolation after meeting the requirements to do so.
On the benefits of vaccines, Lt. Col. Manaf Al Qahtani, Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), commented that vaccines reduce the risk of serious complications associated with COVID-19, including death, and are effective in slowing existing and new variants.
Dr. Manaf added that the Kingdom has authorized 5 different vaccines, with high safety and efficacy profiles, to accelerate immunization rates and increase availability, noting that comparing efficacy rates among vaccines can be misleading and should not be a basis for decision-making.
Dr. Manaf reviewed recent data to demonstrate the importance of being vaccinated, explaining that 1,102 positive vaccinated contacts were mainly asymptomatic or developed mild symptoms, while 26.7% of 8,414 unvaccinated positive contacts developed severe symptoms with 2 deaths recorded, between 1st January 2021 and 11th March 2021.
Dr. Manaf affirmed that the two groups hospitalization rates varied significantly with only 8% of vaccinated individuals admitted to hospital, while the effectiveness of all anti-virus vaccinations in Bahrain, including against mutated viruses, has been confirmed during of January and February, by following up 8414 cases out of 14,640 existing cases of contacts who received two doses of vaccination, compared to the same number of those who did not receive the vaccination.
Dr. Jameela Al Salman, Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex and member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), reaffirmed the importance of taking precautions, and carefully disclosing all information relating to contacts to break the chains of infection.
Dr. Al Salman urged everyone to register for vaccination by visiting https://healthalert.gov.bh/en/ including pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers who are able to be vaccinated safely.
Dr. Al Salman then reviewed the health status of active cases, confirming 6,191 stable cases from a total of 6,252 active cases. Currently, 111 COVID-19 cases are receiving treatment, of which 61 are in a critical condition.