Tue, 14 April 2020
The importance of following social distancing guidelines was stressed by The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) at a press conference held yesterday at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research at the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital highlighting COVID-19 developments within the Kingdom.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Walid Al-Manea, commended HM the King’s continued support to the efforts of Bahrain’s medical workers in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and safeguarding the health of citizens and residents.
Dr. Al Manea highlighted that the Kingdom’s campaigns have contributed to the identification and management of active COVID-19 cases across the Kingdom. “The efforts of the Ministry of Health to combat COVID-19 include contact tracing methods and field visits to labour dormitories in coordination with the Ministry of Interior, via mobile testing units,” he said.
The Ministry of Health has been utilising the effective ‘test, trace and treat’ method. “The Ministry’s increase in testing capacity across the Kingdom has revealed a large number of active COVID-19 cases among labourers,” he said.
The Kingdom currently has 870 active cases of coronavirus. “The failure to follow the ban on gatherings in these dormitories is a factor in the increase of active cases amongst labourers. It is important that citizens and residents follow social distancing measures,” he added
To date, the Kingdom has conducted 69359 tests for COVID-19 since registering the first case. Of this number, 2% have been positive for COVID-19, with 98% returning negative.
“The authorities are committed to ensuring large quantities of masks are available on the open market, and home-made masks are also a good option,” he said.
Dr. Al Manea concluded by expressing gratitude to all individuals who have supported national efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, led by HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister. Dr. Al Manea further commended the campaign launched in line with the directives of the Representative of His Majesty the King for Humanitarian and Youth Affairs, National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Humanitarian Foundation (RHF), HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa to complement these efforts.
For his part, the Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Taskforce for Combating the COVID-19, Lt. Col. Manaf Al Qahtani, highlighted the Kingdom’s commitment to implement internationally recognised procedures aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19, adding that the Kingdom is being praised globally for its public health approach.
The Kingdom’s new temporary intensive care unit, which has been constructed in a record 7 days, contains 130 beds for the treatment of critical active COVID-19 cases. “The drive-through testing centre which was launched aims at facilitating testing and the maintenance of social distancing measures,” he said.
“This service is available for individuals who have completed their self-isolation period and requires them to book an appointment via the “Be Aware” app three days prior to the end of their self-isolation period,” he added.
Dr. Al Qahtani noted that testing capacities have increased 11-fold since the Kingdom began its testing efforts. “The average amount of medical tests taken per day has risen from 295 to 3233. Out of the 751 active cases(as of April 13), 89% are asymptomatic, whilst 11% exhibit symptoms,” he stated.
Dr. Al Qahtani underscored that the Kingdom continues to update its treatment protocols in line with global research provided on the virus, and the experiences of various countries. “The Kingdom will start treating active cases using convalescent plasma therapy, which has been used successfully in a number of countries. Plasma will be taken from individuals who have successfully recovered from the virus,” he said.
Dr. Al Qahtani highlighted that global clinical trials using plasma therapy have shown an improvement in symptoms 12 to 24 hours after the treatment is administered, including a major decrease in inflammatory indicators. Clinical trials will be carried out on 20 cases in isolation and treatment centres.
The Consultant of Infectious and Internal Diseases at Salmaniya Medical Complex, Dr. Jameela Al Salman commended the speech given by HM the King, praising Team Bahrain’s efforts in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, remarking that it has greatly encouraged those working on the front line across the Kingdom.
The team concluded by underscoring the importance of washing hands regularly using water and soap, using hand sanitisers, frequently disinfecting surfaces and objects that are used regularly, covering the mouth when coughing, the immediate disposal of used napkins and tissues, and avoiding direct contact with anyone with a fever or a cough.
The team further reiterated the importance of calling the hotline no 444 and following the guidelines provided in the event that symptoms appear, and added that wearing a mask is pivotal to ensuring citizens and residents remain safeguarded from the virus.