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14 Apr 2020 | 03:49 AM UTC

Bahrain: Transit flight ban for foreign nationals reinstated April 13 /update 12

Bahraini authorities reinstate ban on transit flights for foreign nationals as of April 13; follow authority directives

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transportation
BHR

Event

French diplomatic sources have stated on Monday, April 13, that transit flights for foreign nationals have been once again suspended in Bahrain, amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Entry to the country and transit flights are therefore reserved exclusively for Bahraini nationals and those with resident permits. Flights between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have been suspended until further notice.

On Thursday, March 19, Bahraini authorities announced that nationals entering the country will be tested and required to self-isolate for 14 days including those without symptoms, in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Those showing symptoms upon arrival or those that have visited Iran, Iraq, or Lebanon within 14 days will be subject to further quarantine measures. Foreign nationals, even those with resident permits, are barred from entering the country. The government previously suspended visas on arrival across all entry points until further notice, effective Wednesday, March 18.

Domestically, gatherings of over 20 people have been banned and restaurants are now required to offer takeout and delivery services exclusively. Businesses closures were also announced, including gyms and cinemas, though retail and grocery stores remain open given that social distancing recommendations are implemented. The government also advised nationals and resident to avoid all but essential travel. As of Wednesday, April 8, face masks are required in the public space. Those who fail to comply with the measure will be sanctioned. 

As of Tuesday, April 14, there are 1361 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bahrain, including seven deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in more than 30 countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labelled the outbreak as pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.