Manama: The National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) today held a press go at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research at the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital, to provide an update on the COVID-19 response in the Kingdom.
At the press conference, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and Member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), HE Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, highlighted the introduction of new screening measures for travellers entering the Kingdom of Bahrain, which includes an additional COVID-19 PCR test to be conducted on the 5th day after arrival, totaling three PCR tests, for a reduced total fee of BHD 36.He also stressed on the importance of vigilantly following all precautionary measures in light of the prevalence of the highly contagious variant COVID-19 strain. He noted that despite relentless contact tracing efforts, there has been a rise in active cases and it is a shared responsibility to ensure communities are safeguarded from the virus.
HE Dr. Al Manea noted that the increased rate of infections, which reached 896 cases recorded on 12 February, is a striking escalation from the 114 cases recorded previously on 22 November 2020.
Based on analysis from contact tracing operations involving 300,000 individuals, HE Dr. Al Manea highlighted that a predominant factor explaining the spread of COVID-19 is general complacency and large family gatherings, which has led to not only an increase in cases, but an increase in the number of deaths and patients in intensive care.
He stressed the importance of following all social distancing guidelines by limiting interactions to those living in the same household, and to avoid large family gatherings.
He further noted that COVID-19 measures are periodically reviewed in order to minimise risk and protect the community, and that the Kingdom remains committed to safeguarding the health and safety of all in the community. Highlighting the capacity of the Kingdom’s isolation and treatment centers, he said, 5,499 beds, of which 1,750 are occupied, representing 30.2% of capacity. The number of asymptomatic active cases under optional home isolation is 5,789 and the percentage of patients recovered out of total cases has reached 93.05%, while the death rate is 0.55% of total cases.
The Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Lt. Col. Manaf Al Qahtani, highlighted the importance of receiving the vaccination, which will ensure herd immunity. Dr. Manaf noted that vaccinations are safe and effective in relieving severe symptoms.
Dr. Al Qahtani noted the Kingdom’s emergency use of four vaccines (Sino pharm, Pfizer-Biontech, Astrazeneca-Covishield, and Sputnik V), which have been approved by the National Health Regulatory Authority, adding that individuals are free to choose any vaccine they prefer, free of charge. In this regard, Dr. Al Qahtani emphasized that vaccinated individuals should continue to vigilantly follow all precautionary measures, as vaccinations do not stop infections, but limit their symptoms.