Bahrain will suspend dine-in services at restaurants and cafes and move public and private schools to remote learning for three weeks, starting from January 31, to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry said it had detected a new variant of coronavirus in a number of cases, without specifying which kind. The new lockdown measures will come into effect on Sunday.
Lieutenant General Tariq Al Hassan, Chairman of the National Disaster Management Committee, confirmed that security efforts will continue to confront the pandemic, noting that the Ministry of Interior is working to intensify law enforcement campaigns, according to the Bahrain News Agency.
Lt Gen Al Hassan indicated that police directorates in the governorates continue to take legal measures against violators that do not wear a face mask in public places and flout the necessary measures to maintain social distancing standards.
He said that during the first three weeks of January, 8901 face mask violations were reported, as well as 518 cases of large gatherings.
There has been an uptick in coronavirus cases in the Gulf kingdom since December. The country registered 459 new cases on Wednesday, adding to a total of nearly 100,000 since the start of the pandemic, with 370 deaths.
The small island state has the third highest rate of vaccinations per capita in the world so far, according to the Our World in Data website, which is run by an Oxford University research programme.
Bahrain offers its citizens either the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or one manufactured by Chinese state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm free of charge.