Bahrain: Increase in Coronavirus Infections and Fatalities Raises Doubts over Easing Restrictions
2020-06-02 - 11:38 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The authorities in Bahrain made surprising decisions towards easing the restrictions they imposed to face the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the increase in infections and fatalities raises doubts regarding the new approach.
Bahrain has allowed markets to open, while allowing many services, including barber shops and beauty salons to resume their work. Ministries and government agencies have doubled the number of employees working in offices after the Eid holiday.
For their part, Gulf Air announced the resumption of flights from Pakistan starting Sunday, as a flight is scheduled to head to Islamabad, noting that it will resume flights to other cities in the next few days.
Bahrain Airport has announced the reception of flights, reflecting the desire of civil aviation to speed up the resumption of air traffic.
The Ministry of Justice authorized the resumption of prayers in mosques with some restrictions; however, Imams of congregational prayers in Bahrain said that they will wait for some time before holding Friday and congregational prayers for health and religious reasons.
"The situation will be assessed in the near future," they said in a statement issued by Sheikh Fadel Al-Zaki.
The government's new measures are being faced with voices of concern as the number of infections has increased over the past few days.
The Ministry of Health announced that more than 600 infections had been reported in the past two days and that two citizens died due to COVID-19 complications. The Ministry added that 13 people are currently in the intensive care unit.
"The government is gradually easing the measures and restrictions, and it is remarkable that this step comes at the same time the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing in Bahrain," Sayyed Taher al-Mousawi, head of Al-Wefaq's media department, said.
"There are countries that have begun to ease their measures as a result of containing the epidemic, and this does not apply to Bahrain according to official figures... Are we now experiencing the imposition of the herd immunity theory?"
Herd immunity is an indirect protection when a large percentage of society acquires immunity from a particular infection. The United Kingdom followed this type of protection but was surprised by the adverse effects.
Britain lost control of the disease a few days later, which prompted it to step back and call for social distancing to reduce the number of victims and infections.
Bahrain, which has taken strict measures to counter the virus, does not adopt this theory, but has moved quickly towards opening the door to return to normal life.
"I believe that the reopening of markets, the restoration of life and the opening of public places should be studied with great caution," said MP Abdulnabi Salman.
"Several sectors are worried," he said via his Twitter page. "The return of the epidemic to South Korea is one of the indicators that should be taken into account."
South Korea stepped up its measures after health authorities reported 58 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, a day after 79 cases were reported, which is the highest number in nearly two months.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned last week that countries that are stopping their measures to curb the spread of the disease, too quickly, may face "second immediate peak" of infections.
Fears are growing that Bahrain would face a new peak of Coronavirus cases after the Government took accelerated steps to ease restrictions on commercial activities, movement and assembly.
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