Things You should Know about Coronavirus, Is Gov't Doing its Duty in Combating this Deadly Virus?

2020-02-28 - 2:08 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): As two confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Bahrain, what should you know about this virus? What are the recommended preventive measures by the World Health Organization (WHO)? Can infected people be treated?

Bahrainis are raising several questions amid panic, especially as the government closed three schools as a precautionary measure after discovering that the first infected is a Bahraini national working as a school bus driver.


The disease caused by the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China, has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - ‘CO' stands for corona, ‘VI' for virus, and ‘D' for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus' or ‘2019-nCoV.' The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.

How does the COVID-19 Virus Spread?

The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing), and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.

What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. 

These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19. It's important to remember that key prevention measures are the same - frequent hand washing, and respiratory hygiene (cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throw away the tissue into a closed bin). Also, there is a vaccine for the flu - so remember to keep yourself and your child up to date with vaccinations. 

Here are four precautions you and your family can take to avoid infection:

  1. Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub 

  2. Cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue, when coughing or sneezing, and throw away the tissue into a closed bin

  3. Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms

  4. Go to the doctor if you have a fever, cough or feel that it is difficult to breathe

Facts and Numbers

To date, more than 80,000 cases have been documented, with China, the source of disease in first place (77,658), followed by South Korea (893). The Diamond Princess cruise ship incubated more than 690 cases of the coronavirus, Italy (229), Japan (159), Singapore (90), Hong Kong (81), Iran (61), Thailand (35), United States (35), Taiwan (28), Australia (23), Malaysia (22), Germany (16), Vietnam (16), United Arab Emirates (13), United Kingdom (13), France (12), Canada (10), Macau (10), Russia (5), while many other countries including India, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries recorded only a few cases of no more than 5.

Government Measures

So far, the Ministry of Health's actions appear to be in line with WHO recommendations, which call for isolation of suspected cases for 14 days and routine screening, in addition to the awareness campaign that has spread through the streets of Bahrain in multiple languages, with the allocation of a hotline for everything related to the virus.

But on other levels, the government seems to be falling short with its citizens, so far many Bahrainis are in Iran, amid the absence of direct flights with Iran. Things even got worse with the suspension of flights between Kuwait and Iran, which many Bahrainis were travelling on to visit Iran.

Bahrain must follow Kuwait's steps in evacuating its uninfected nationals from Iran. Several countries such as Canada and the United States have done the same with their nationals who were in Wuhan, the source of the epidemic.

The followed procedures are clear. The Bahraini government should evacuate its uninfected nationals or those who have shown no symptoms of infection, and bring them to isolation in Bahrain for 14 days to ensure that there are no symptoms of the deadly virus, while the infected people continue to be placed in quarantine until they heal. The state should do this regardless of its political stance with Iran, or the fact that most of its citizens in Iran are Shiites. Meanwhile citizens should cooperate fully with the authorities and follow the stated measures until this crisis is overcome.

The rapid transmission of the disease in Iran is not surprising. Its speedy transmission in religious places is expected as people are crowded and close to one another, and the possibility of the transmission of the virus from tens and hundreds in places of gatherings, whether religious or otherwise is normal and expected, and it must be dealt with realistically far from attenuation. However, at the same time, what happened in Iran should not be the cause of exaggerated or illogical measures.

Arabic Version