There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world. Governments, communities, and individuals globally are still facing the unprecedented crisis stemming from the virus.
In these challenging times, Bahrain proved to be among the front lines of countries that are successfully tackling the pandemic. Let’s take a look at the Kingdom’s journey over the past year…
Bahrain’s aggressive response to the pandemic when it first started has been among the most successful in the region; so much so that it has been recognized and praised for its efforts in tackling the crisis. In report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), the country’s “overall comprehensive approach” has been praised.
In March of last year, Bahrain became the first Arab country to participate in WHO’s solidarity trial, aimed at jumpstarting research of the most effective way of combatting COVID-19.
The Kingdom also made a mark in being the:
- First country to offer COVID-19 test results via Whatsapp
- First country to allow vaccine appointment via mobile app
- First country to approve emergency use of Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine
- First Arab country to adopt COVID-19 passport
With a population of over 1.4 million, the country began testing for the virus immensely. At the time of writing, there are over 3.68 million PCR tests conducted by the Health Ministry.
Bahrain understood that COVID-19 is both a health pandemic and a socio-economic crisis that continues to threaten the welfare of the local industry. During the early stages of the pandemic, the Kingdom announced a financial package of BD4.3 billion to combat the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. In effect, the government launched several initiatives aimed to support the vulnerable sectors and individuals.
In March 2020, Bahraini nationals were given the option of delaying payment of bank loans by six months. This was extended from January 2021 for six more months as part of the government’s measures to ease pressure amid the pandemic.
In June 2020, the government announced a wage protection system for the private sector. The payment covered 50% of salaries of workers in sectors that were hard-hit by the pandemic. Over the same period, the government has also agreed to meet citizens’ domestic electricity costs for primary residences.
Meanwhile, economic sectors most affected by the pandemic were further supported by the Labour Fund’s (Tamkeen) Business Continuity Support Program. The program was launched to provide adversely affected enterprises with the liquidity to help them continue their operations during this time.
For Bahrain to stamp out the virus, the National Taskforce for Combatting Coronavirus constantly enforces necessary precautionary measures, disseminates latest information and encourages everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Bahrain offers citizens and residents four vaccines free of charge: the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, one manufactured by China’s Sinopharm, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and Russia’s Sputnik V. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has also been approved for emergency use.
According to Bloomberg, Bahrain’s latest vaccination rate is 19,527 doses per day (as of April 11, 2021), on average. At this pace, it will take another 2 months to cover 75% of the population.
Leaving no one behind
In some countries, access to healthcare, mass testing and vaccinations during the pandemic are severely restricted. However, this is not the case in Bahrain. From testing to vaccinations, the Kingdom included expats and residents in its goal to beat COVID-19. With Bahrain’s compassionate policies and inclusive solutions, it is evident that no one will be left behind in this battle.