Bahrain closes venues for two weeks in bid to cut Covid spread

Cinemas, malls, gyms, hair salons and commercial shops will be closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus

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Bahrain’s shopping centres, coffee shops and restaurants will close on Thursday for two weeks as the government announced Covid-19 measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The Health Ministry said 70 per cent of government employees must work from home while barbers, hair salons and spas join other leisure and dining venues in closing their doors until 12am on June 10. All conferences and in-person events will be cancelled.

Beaches, amusement parks, gymnasiums and swimming pools, as well as cinemas, will also close.

Cafes, restaurants and stores can only operate home deliveries and take-out, the ministry said.

The decision is "subject to revision".

The Gulf kingdom made the announcement after trying to control the spread of Covid-19. On May 21 it limited entry to venues and only allowed vaccinated adults who had exceeded 14 days since their second dose to visit pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, hospitals and other facilities.

Bahrain reported a sudden spike in the number of Covid-19 cases beginning May 17, despite having fully vaccinated nearly 50 per cent of the population.

The new measures come less than 10 days after the reopening of the causeway to Saudi Arabia after Riyadh lifted a travel ban after 14 months.

Ministry officials have been conducting inspections and ordered one restaurant to close and referred 13 others to authorities for Coronavirus-related violations and failure to abide by precautionary measures.

The ministry announced a ban on non-Bahraini citizens coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal entering the country from May 23, with the exception of GCC nationals or individuals with Bahraini or GCC residence visas

"All arrivals from the mentioned countries are required to present a certificate confirming the result of a negative PCR test containing a QR code, no more than 48 hours before their arrival," the ministry said.

"All arrivals must conduct a PCR test upon arrivals, a second PCR test for arrivals who will stay in Bahrain for a period of more than 5 days, and a third PCR test ten days after the date of arrival for those who will reside in Bahrain for a period of more than 10 days."

Bahrain has vaccinated 732,710 people. It reported 2,766 new cases on Tuesday and 12 deaths, bringing the death toll to 878 and the number of cases to over 220,000.