Bahrain extends lockdown and will provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens overseas

King Hamad issued a directive to ensure all Bahrainis can be vaccinated if they are unable to obtain doses abroad

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa issued a directive to provide Covid-19 vaccine doses to Bahraini nationals who are unable to be immunised abroad as authorities extended lockdown measures for another two weeks on Tuesday.

The country is currently experiencing a rise in infected cases and deaths and has recorded 251,078 infections and 1,119 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

“We are accustomed to King Hamad’s great care and concern towards the interests of the Bahraini citizens whether they are inside or outside the country. This move indicates his humanitarian vision to ensure the health and safety of all,” said Sheikh Mohammed Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Health and head of the national Covid-19 medical team.

Health authorities are accelerating their vaccination drive.

The country began inoculating residents and citizens with the Sinopharm Covid-19 shot and has introduced other vaccines.

It has moved into third place in the global rankings for vaccination rates, behind the UAE and Israel.

About half of Bahrain’s population has been fully immunised against Covid-19, according to Reuters’ vaccination tracker.

This month, health authorities said they would expand the inoculation campaign to include adolescents aged 12 to 17.

King Hamad's directives comes as the government announced an extension of its harsh lockdown measures put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic.

"In order to achieve the goals set and based on positive results, we have decided to extend the national lockdown for a period of two weeks starting from Friday June 11 to Friday, June 25," said a statement by the national medical committee.

Jameela Salman, a member of Bahrain's Shura Council, urged the public to abide by the health regulation as positive indicators to flatten the curve have been seen during the last two weeks.

"The public must continue to follow regulations set by authorities that are still ongoing to achieve the desired results to ensure the health and safety of all," Ms Salman said during a press conference.

Shopping malls, stores, restaurants, coffee shops, swimming pools, beauty salons and barber shops will remain closed.

Authorities first announced the closures on May 27.

The recent surge in infections could concern the tourism industry, which was looking towards a post-Covid recovery.

Bahrain recorded 1,552 new cases and 24 deaths on Monday.

Infections in the country peaked at about 3,000 per day last month.

The developments comes as Kuwait approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, the state-news agency Kuna said on Tuesday.

It is the fourth vaccine approved by Kuwait after those of Pfizer BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna.

Updated: June 8, 2021 05:52 PM

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