Why Did the Military Step Back? Did MP Al-Salloum Lie? How COVID-19 Issue is Being Addressed in Bahrain from Behind the Scenes

2020-04-01 - 8:36 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The fight against the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is the number one concern in all countries, and all world leaders have declared that the frontliners protecting humanity are doctors and nurses, except for the King of Bahrain.

The Supreme Defense Council, presided over by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, convened on March 18. After the king listened to different reports on how the Coronavirus epidemic is being combated, he extended his gratitude to three parties; the first was a personal thanks to the Crown Prince and his team dubbed the Bahrain Team, the second was to the Bahrain Defence Force (Army), the third was to the National Guard and the Interior Ministry. Surprisingly, the official statement issued after the Supreme Defense Council's meeting didn't mention those on the frontlines defending and protecting the people, their health and their lives; i.e. the doctors, nurses and workers in the medical field. It is a clear misstep in the performance of the Bahraini authorities and political leadership. In addition, the Crown Prince has not issued any words of praise for the medical staff in Bahrain. People will eventually know that the Bahrain Defence Force, a little while after the increase of the number of infected people, refused to allow the King Hamad Hospital in Muharraq, which is directly run by the BDF, to be used for treating or examining any cases related to the Coronavirus, and refused to allow the military hospital in Riffa to be used as well.

Was this act of stepping back one of the decisions of the Supreme Defense Council session? Some information says that the military rejected to include the two hospitals in combating the epidemic, so that they don't suffer any losses, since dozens of beds would have to be replaced and dozens of rooms and departments would have to be sterilized and undergo maintenance to be used again in the future.

These are the calculations of the army and its supreme leader, the king, whose seems to not stomach seeing the less fortunate citizens in hospitals run by the BDF. So, why does Nawaf Al-Qahtani in his military uniform lead the conferences of the national committee for fighting the epidemic?

The construction of the new medical quarantine unit in Sitra, which can accommodate 5,000 people, according to the national team, was also a big achievement made by the maintenance department of the Ministry of Health, which fully supervised the whole process. However, Bahrain state TV showed in a special report on the construction of the quarantine unit as if it was all carried out by military men, in order to direct feelings of content towards this military institution.

The specialized team in the Maintenance Department of the Ministry of Health, which has been trained on forming isolation rooms in accordance with the Canadian Board standards, were the ones who were relied on to construct the medical quarantine units in accordance with WHO requirements. This department has succeeded in its mission. 

On a different note, there was a statement by MP Ahmed Al-Salloum defending the commercial class in Bahrain, stating that this class didn't fail to provide aid. This statement came after popular criticism against wealthy merchants for not declaring their contribution to anything. Everyone thought that Al-Salloum was defending the merchants because he belongs to the Commerce Chamber, but the truth is his statement may be true, according to sources who spoke to Bahrain Mirror.

Some sources working closely on the coronavirus issue say that a number of trade companies and charities have written to the government, especially the "Bahrain Team" that is managing this crisis, in order to offer needed charitable services and assistance, or whatever the government needs in this regard. These parties did not receive a clear response, according to the sources "the mechanism of action of the Bahrain Team is very bureaucratic and complex." Perhaps Al-Salloum is honest, and perhaps not. However, it is certain that companies did offer to help and the Bahrain Team failed to take advantage of this opportunity.

Also, a well-known Islamic association contacted this team and said that it has more than 1,000 well-trained volunteers to work as a team; however, the authorities did not give this offer any heed. In addition, a number of charities and volunteers, who want to contribute to the work, are still waiting for a response from the government team. The Ministry of Health blames the Quarantine Directorate, which in turn, blames the Ministry.

Arabic Version