What Bahraini Authorities Should Do in Fight against Coronavirus: Preserve Citizens' Dignity and Silence Voices of Dissonance
2020-02-29 - 2:34 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The infectious disease consultant at the Military Hospital, Dr. Manaf Al-Qahtani, did well when he rejected the accusations made by loyalists against Shiite citizens claiming that they were the reason that the Coronavirus hit Bahrain.
During a press conference held by the national team for countering the Coronavirus on Tuesday (February 25, 2020), Al-Qahtani said: "Neither the virus nor the disease has any relation to a specific race or a certain sect. It is a widespread virus that anyone may catch. We wish no one would nickname the virus by linking it to a specific party or doctrine. The World Health Organization made sure not to name it "China or Wuhan" virus, referring to the city of Wuhan from which the deadly virus originated."
Although we would like here to build on the positive we're seeing in the government's speech regarding its fight against this virus, we must say that the authorities have not yet handled responsibly what happened and is happening to citizens, especially those stranded in Iran and the United Arab Emirates.
During the press conference, Al-Qahtani confirmed renting a hotel in Iran for citizens stuck in Iran who want to return to their country, and are suffering from the Bahraini government's refusal to allow them to return, which appears to be due to the lack of readiness and willingness of the competent authorities in the country to deal with such a situation.
Al-Qahtani hinted at the lack of preparedness of the competent authorities when he said that the political leadership was asked to allow using the services of voluntary retired doctors and nurses. This indicates a shortage of experienced medical staff, which the state needs in order to deal with such a medical crisis.
But what should the authorities do?
We are not demanding something that no one has demanded before, or something out of the ordinary in dealing with such cases. The state must assume its responsibilities to preserve the lives and dignities of citizens. Bahrain should follow the good example of its fellow gulf state Kuwait. The Kuwaiti authorities have prepared a special quarantine hotel for arrivals from Iran. Due to the large number of people who are there, the Kuwaiti authorities have allocated a hotel for them in Iran, in which they stay at the state's expense while providing their basic needs for food and drink, until the new isolation areas are ready, then the Kuwaiti authorities will evacuate their citizens stuck there.
The government of Bahrain should do the same. It should provide suitable places for stranded citizens in Iran and the United Arab Emirates, as well as expedite finishing the procedures for citizens held and humiliated at Bahrain International Airport.
Dr. Al-Qahtani called, in his press conference, for learning from Canada's experience in house quarantine, and said that the competent authorities are working on benefiting from the Canadian experience and trying to apply it. Well, we are asking the authorities to learn from the Canadian way of dealing with the Chinese authorities despite the severe political dispute between the two countries for more than a year, as this did not stop the Canadian authorities from communicating and coordinating with the Chinese government in order to evacuate Canadian nationals from Wuhan.
Since the state does not want to politicize the Coronavirus crisis, it has the responsibility to silence dissonant voices of loyalists, who, since the spread of the virus in Iran, have not stopped ridiculing the religious beliefs of Shiites, accusing Iran of deliberately exporting the virus to Bahrain, calling citizens trapped in Iran traitors who are loyal to Iran, and urging the authorities not to allow them to return to the country.
In the end, it must be emphasized that it is the duty of the state to treat its citizens afflicted with any diseases or epidemics, and the state does not have the right to prevent citizens for any reason from returning to the country. This is not an issue subject to the whims of a loyalists whose hearts are filled with hatred and grudges.