Bahrain to drop Covid-19 travel red list

Unvaccinated travellers can now quarantine at home

The new passenger terminal of Bahrain International Airport, south of the Bahraini capital Manama. AFP
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Bahrain is ending its Coronavirus travel red list that prevented travel from high-risk countries from November 14, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

There were 16 countries on Bahrain's red list, including Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, and Malaysia, barring travel from those locations. Only citizens and residents could fly as long as they then followed quarantine procedures.

As well as ending the red list, Bahrain is also dropping the need for unvaccinated travellers to quarantine in a licensed, designated place and is now allowing people to isolate at home.

Meanwhile, the EU is recommending that Bahrain, and other Gulf states, is added to their list advising against Covid-19 related travel restrictions to allow people to travel more freely.

Bahrain won praise from global health experts for its handling of the pandemic and the island nation of just 1.7 million people has suffered just 1,393 deaths and 277,000 cases in total.

For much of 2020, Bahrain kept cases below 1,000 a day. There was a major spike in infections in May 2021, with nearly 3,000 cases a day. However, new restrictions quickly brought numbers down to around 100 a day where they remain.

Bahrain lights up the fight against Covid-19

Bahrain lights up the fight against Covid-19

In June, Bahrain indefinitely suspended new work permits for people from countries on its coronavirus red list who were outside the kingdom.

“For the time being, individuals who are in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal are not able to gain work permits in Bahrain," a representative of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority told The National.

"The decision was put in place on May 24, and we are still unsure of when it will be lifted.”

It is unclear if the move to drop the red list will also change this regulation.

Just over 67 per cent of the population of Bahrain is now fully vaccinated.

Bahrain approved the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine last month for children aged 3 to 11 and they plan to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 soon.

The small island was the first Gulf nation to adopt the Covid-19 vaccine passport in February, when residents had a choice of four vaccines, all without charge: Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V.

Updated: November 11, 2021, 7:36 AM