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HomeIn focusInside BahrainThe National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) provides an update on the COVID-19 response in the Kingdom

The National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) provides an update on the COVID-19 response in the Kingdom

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The National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 highlighted the importance of supporting national efforts aimed at combating the spread of the COVID-19 by fully observing health and social distancing guidelines, which include wearing face masks when out in public, and limiting gatherings with individuals outside of one’s household until the 14th of October.  The Taskforce underscored that the health and safety of the Kingdom’s community remains a top priority.

Speaking on the current state of transmissions, Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and member of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), attributed the current decrease in active COVID-19 cases to greater compliance with preventative measures over the past two weeks, and encouraged the public to persevere through to 14 October 2020.

Dr. Al Manea associated the success of Bahrain’s frontline response to the level of coordination involved and the active participation of civil society, which has a direct impact on reducing the spread of the virus, before going on to note the legal consequences of non-compliance with preventative measures.

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Dr. Al Manea highlighted that the 1-month moving average of COVID-19 cases is directly impacted by preventive measure compliance and reported the figures as follows; the average increased from 126 in March, to 3,356 in May and 5,272 in June, before decreasing to 4,106 in July and 3,109 in August and 5,715 on September.

Dr. Al Manea stressed that increased average peaks were a consequence of reduced compliance during the Eid Break and the Ashura holidays, emphasising the negative impact imposed by gatherings on the level of transmission.

Turning to patient outcomes, Dr. Al Manea reported that the recovery rate is currently at 93.4% with a 0.36% death rate. Isolation centre occupancy stands at 14.9%, 1,137 out of 7,642 available beds, and 3,471 asymptomatic cases are under optional home self-isolation, having met the criteria for self-isolation at home.

Speaking on the vaccine trials, Lt. Col. Manaf Al Qahtani, Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), noted that over 1,600 new volunteers had stepped forward to join the trial following an extension of the volunteer cap by 1,700. The original target of 6,000 volunteers had previously been met in only 6 weeks.

Dr. Manaf added that the vaccine trial continues to welcome volunteers at the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre between the hours of 8:00 and 20:00. Participants must pass a health assessment and be willing to be monitored for a year.

Dr. Manaf noted that complying with preventive measures is key to protecting families and minimising community transfer, particularly by reducing large family and social gatherings.

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, reviewed the health status of active cases, confirming 4,537 stable cases from a total of 4,608 active cases. Currently, 103 COVID-19 cases are receiving treatment, of which 71 are in a critical condition. Dr. Al Salman noted that 1,498,000 tests have been conducted to date.

Dr. Al Salman reaffirmed that adherence to precautionary measures is the building block of successful COVID-19 mitigation efforts designed to safeguard public health and stressed the importance of carrying out our shared civic responsibility through to the 14th of October to avoid any increase trend in case numbers.

Dr. Al Salman noted that committing to social distancing guidelines is key to preserving the health and safety of the Kingdom’s community, which remains a shared goal, and that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases has been linked to an increase in gatherings and non-compliance to health regulations.

Dr. Al Salman further stressed the importance of avoiding social gatherings through upcoming celebrations, particularly at home, adding that gatherings should be limited to individuals living in the same household.

Dr. Al Salman concluded by reiterating the importance of washing hands with soap and water regularly, using an alcohol based sanitizer, cleaning surfaces that are used frequently regularly, covering the mouth when coughing, disposing of used tissues in the correct manner, and keeping a distance from individuals suffering from a fever or cough, stressing the need to call the hotline no 444 if one experiences symptoms related to the COVID-19.

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