Bahrain National TaskForce COVID-19 Highlights

The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) highlights the importance of following social distancing guidelines

The National 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 highlighting COVID-19 developments within the Kingdom. 

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Walid Al-Manea, commended HM the King’s continued support to the efforts of Bahrain’s medical workers in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and safeguarding the health of citizens and residents.

Dr. Al Manea noted the efforts of the Ministry of Health to combat COVID-19, including contact tracing methods and field visits to labour dormitories in coordination with the Ministry of Interior, via mobile testing units.
Al Manea spoke of the utilisation of the effective ‘test, trace and treat’ method to safeguard Bahrain’s citizens and residents.

Additionally, Dr. Al Manea highlighted that the Kingdom’s pre-emptive COVID-19 campaigns have contributed to the identification and management of active COVID-19 cases across the Kingdom.

Dr. Al Manea further highlighted the Ministry’s increase in testing capacity across the Kingdom, which has revealed a large number of active COVID-19 cases among labourers.

Dr. Al Manea noted that failure to follow the ban on gatherings in these dormitories is a factor in the increase of active cases amongst labourers and stressed the importance of all citizens and residents following social distancing measures.

On this note, Dr. Al Manea outlined that the Kingdom has conducted 65,768 tests for COVID-19 since registering the first case. Of this number, 2% have been positive for COVID-19, with 98% returning negative.

Dr. Al Manea highlighted the Kingdom’s current testing, quarantine, isolation and treatment capacity is as follows:

  • Public isolation and treatment capacity stands at 1699 beds, of which 744 are currently being used
  • Private isolation and treatment capacity stands at 172 beds, of which 7 are currently being used
  • Public quarantine capacity stands at 2504 beds, of which 824 are being used
  • Private quarantine capacity stands at 321 beds, of which 65 are being used

Dr. Al Manea went on to reiterate the importance of citizens, residents and businesses following all public health guidelines, adding that authorities are committed to ensuring large quantities of masks are available on the open market, and reminding all that home-made masks are also a good option.

Dr. Al Manea concluded by expressing gratitude to all individuals who have supported national efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, led by HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister. Dr. Al Manea further commended the campaign launched in line with the directives of the Representative of His Majesty the King for Humanitarian and Youth Affairs, National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Humanitarian Foundation (RHF), HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa to complement these efforts.

For his part, the Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Taskforce for Combating the COVID-19, Lt. Col. Manaf Al Qahtani, highlighted the Kingdom’s commitment to implement internationally recognised procedures aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19, adding that the Kingdom is being praised globally for its public health approach.

Dr. Al Qahtani commended the speech given by HM the King, which praised Team Bahrain’s efforts in managing and mitigating the spread of the virus, as well as safeguarding the community. Dr. Al Qahtani further commended the Kingdom’s new temporary intensive care unit, which has been constructed in a record 7 days and contains 130 beds for the treatment of critical active COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Al Qahtani went on to highlight the launch of the drive-through testing centre, aimed at facilitating testing and the maintenance of social distancing measures. Al Qahtani noted that this service is available for individuals who have completed their self-isolation period and requires them to book an appointment via the “Be Aware” app three days prior to the end of their self-isolation period.

Furthermore, Dr. Al Qahtani noted that the increase in active COVID-19 cases in Bahrain is a result of the increased testing procedures undertaken, adding that most of new cases have been among labourers who have not adequately observed social distancing measures. In this regard, Dr. Al Qahtani emphasised the importance of maintaining social distancing measures and adopting them correctly.

Dr. Al Qahtani noted that testing capacities have increased 11-fold since the Kingdom began its testing efforts. Dr. Al Qahtani further noted that the average amount of medical tests taken per day has risen from 295 to 3233. Dr. Al Qahtani added that out of the 751 active cases, 89% are asymptomatic, whilst 11% exhibit symptoms.

Dr. Al Qahtani underscored that the Kingdom continues to update its treatment protocols in line with global research provided on the virus, and the experiences of various countries. Dr. Al Qahtani noted that the Kingdom will start treating active cases using convalescent plasma therapy, which has been used successfully in a number of countries. Dr. Al Qahtani outlined that plasma will be taken from individuals who have successfully recovered from the virus.

Dr. Al Qahtani highlighted that global clinical trials using plasma therapy have shown an improvement in symptoms 12 to 24 hours after the treatment is administered, including a major decrease in inflammatory indicators. Dr. Al Qahtani further highlighted that, in line with the directives of the Head of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the COVID-19, and Chairman of the Supreme Council of Health, HE Lieutenant General Dr. Shaikh Mohamed bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, and under the direct supervision of the Commander of the Royal Medical Services, HE Major General Professor Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, clinical trials will be carried out on 20 cases in isolation and treatment centres.

The Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex, Dr. Jameela Al Salman highlighted the importance of following the health guidelines issued by the government.

Dr. Al Salman commended the speech given by HM the King, praising Team Bahrain’s efforts in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, remarking that it has greatly encouraged those working on the front line across the Kingdom.

Dr. Al Salman outlined the health status of active cases, noting that of the total 751 active cases, 4 are in intensive care, and 591 cases have recovered. Dr. Al Salman added that 669 individuals have left quarantine.

The team concluded by underscoring the importance of washing hands regularly using water and soap, using hand sanitisers, frequently disinfecting surfaces and objects that are used regularly, covering the mouth when coughing, the immediate disposal of used napkins and tissues, and avoiding direct contact with anyone with a fever or a cough.

The team further reiterated the importance of calling the hotline no 444 and following the guidelines provided in the event that symptoms appear, and added that wearing a mask is pivotal to ensuring citizens and residents remain safeguarded from the virus.