Monday, July 6, 2020

The National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus has highlighted measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

The National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus (COVID-19) held a press conference, at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research at the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital, to highlight measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and member of the National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus (COVID-19), highlighted strengthened precautionary measures undertaken by the Ministry of Health, to protect frontline workers and provide safe working conditions.

Dr. Al Manea noted that safe working conditions are being provided by allocation of separate entrances and rooms for health workers, ensuring all health workers have access to personal protective equipment (PPE), publishing updated guidelines, continuously disinfecting surfaces, and providing infection control training.

Dr. Al Manea highlighted that frontline workers undergo COVID-19 testing regularly in order to prevent the transmission of the virus amongst responders and expressed his appreciation for their dedication and commitment.

Turning to patient outcome, Dr Al Manea explained that the recovery rate is currently at 74.66% with a 0.29% death rate.

Isolation centre capacity stands at 8,303 beds, of which 3,811 beds are being occupied, and 1,734 asymptotic cases are under optional home self-isolation after meeting the set criteria.

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), emphasised the protective steps individuals are encouraged to take if they test positive or are quarantining at home, as follows:

  • Self-isolate in a separate room and use a separate bathroom and refrain from contact with others
  • In the event that it is absolutely necessary to be in contact with others, wear a facemask and gloves and maintain as much distance as possible between you and other people at home
  • Do not share personal household items including plates, cups, towels, or bedding with other people, and regularly sanitize door handles and surfaces
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues and ensure that the used tissues are disposed of in a closed, touchless trash can
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or sanitize them with an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Designate a specific trash bin for your waste, and ensure the use of double layered bags to prevent any leakages

Dr. Al Qahtani pointed out that those who have tested positive will be contacted within 48-hours of testing by the Ministry of Health, adding that those who are not contacted should follow up by calling 444. Additionally, Dr. Al Qahtani reiterated that those who experience severe symptoms, such as difficulty in breathing, should immediately contact 444 and seek medical care.

Dr. Jameela Al Salman, Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex, noted that the Ministry of Health is continuously expanding COVID-19 testing capacity to identify, isolate and break chains of infection.

Dr. Al Salman stressed that face masks must be worn at all times when in public settings, including during outdoor recreation, as well as when in close proximity to family members with underlying health conditions or when in close proximity to elderly family members.

This decision does not extend to when driving cars or participating in strenuous activities, such as running, swimming or cycling.

To conclude, Dr. Al Salman reviewed the health status of active cases, confirming 5,508 stable cases from a total of 5,544 active cases. Currently, 117 COVID-19 cases are receiving treatment, of which 36 are in a critical condition. Dr. Al Salman noted that over 494,000 tests have been conducted to date.

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