Bahrain records unprecedented surge in Covid infections

Manama suspended entry of travellers from countries on its Red List this week

FILE PHOTO: A woman takes her appointment for a second dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, at Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre (BIECC), in Manama, Bahrain December 24, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo
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Bahrain’s health ministry on Monday reported 28 deaths from Covid-19, its highest daily toll.

Last week, it reserved access to most public venues for immunised people after a sharp rise in infections, which authorities attributed to large gatherings during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr holiday.

Almost 42 per cent of the population is now fully vaccinated.

On Tuesday the health ministry reported three Covid-19 related deaths – two Bahraini women aged 85 and 53, and a 60-year-old Bahraini man.

Health officials are urging the public to take their vaccinations and the booster doses as well.

"Vaccinations have a great effect on protecting all those around us. It contributes to reducing the incidents of infection and reducing the severity of symptoms," the ministry said.

Out of the 28 deaths recorded on Monday, 24 people were not vaccinated, according to figures from the ministry.

The number of Covid-19 deaths currently stands at 852.

The health ministry said it had increased its daily vaccination capacity to 31,000 doses across its 31 vaccination centres.

It has also released a list of vaccination centres citizens can go to if they miss their appointment.

Bahrain suspended entry to travellers arriving from countries on its Red List with effect from May 24. The list includes India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Only Bahraini citizens and residents can return from these destinations.

The kingdom has also reintroduced mandatory quarantine for all unvaccinated travellers arriving in Bahrain. Passengers must take a PCR test before flying and on arrival, then complete 10 days of home or hotel quarantine.

On Monday, a health report showed 2,800 new Covid-19 infections, taking the country’s tally to 220,847.

Bahrain, which is home to a population of 1.7 million, had registered 3,177 new infections on the previous day.

The country is working to manage the coronavirus pandemic and is now speeding up its vaccination drive. It has moved into third place in the global rankings for vaccination rates, behind the UAE and Israel, respectively.

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

The recent surge in Covid-19 cases could lead to concerns for the tourist economy, which was looking at the prospect of a post-Covid recovery.
On May 17 tourism officials looked upbeat after the reopening of the King Fahd Causeway with Saudi Arabia. The closure of the bridge for more than a year reportedly cost Bahraini economy in excess of $10 million a day.
"We are... emerging hopefully out of Covid into a stage of normalcy," said Nasser Ali Qaedi, chief executive of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority at the time.