Bahrain eases Covid-19 measures as new cases drop

Restaurants and cafes, which had been limited to takeaways since late January, can reopen for indoor dining

A vendor prepares hamburgers at Radical Barbecue, a food stand, at Al Aali Mall amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Manama, Bahrain February 27, 2021. Picture taken February 27, 2021. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
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Bahrain eased some of its coronavirus restrictions on Sunday, allowing dining inside restaurants to resume and reopening schools and colleges.

Restaurants and cafes, which had been limited to takeaway meals since late January, can open, but must admit no more than 30 customers at one time, the ministry of health said.

Swimming pools and sports centres can also reopen on Sunday, but social gatherings of more than 30 people in homes and other private places remain prohibited.

Ministry officials urged residents to take the vaccine and to continue to observe safety measures such as social distancing, mask wearing and washing hands.

The number of daily cases fell from a mid-February peak of 896, after a steady rise since December.

Bahrain, which offers residents and citizens four types of vaccine, registered 579 new cases on Saturday.

It was the first Gulf nation, and one of the first worldwide, to approve the Johnson & Johnson-owned Janssen vaccine.

The single-shot drug is not yet available in Bahrain.

“We are in ongoing discussions with kingdom of Bahrain government authorities regarding supply of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine. However, the details of these negotiations are confidential,” a representative of Johnson & Johnson said.

“We will provide an update as and when an agreement is finalised.”

Daily cases in the UAE, which has one of the world's fastest vaccination rates, also fell from a peak of 3,977 cases in early February to 1,992 on Sunday.

Elective surgery and cosmetic and physiotherapy treatments, all of which were suspended in January, can resume at private hospitals, the UAE’s health ministry said.