Based on the recommendations of Bahrain's National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (Covid-19), indoor dining services at restaurants and cafes will resume on October 24 in the kingdom.
The customer numbers will be capped at 30 customers per café/restaurant, said a Bahrain News Agency report.
Return to in-person teaching at public schools and private nurseries will resume on October 25, depending on their guardians' choice regarding in-person learning, said Dr Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and member of the committee.
Dr Al Manea noted that preventative actions has had a tangible effect on protecting the kingdom’s community, as evidenced by the 45% decrease in active Covid-19 cases recorded on October 13, reaching 3,773 cases in comparison with September 17, which recorded the highest amount of cases - 6885 active cases.
Dr Al Manea said the recently introduced rapid antigen tests, which delivers on-the-spot results in 15 minutes at a lower price without the requirement for specialty lab equipment, is not intended to replace PCR testing.
He affirmed that the rapid antigen testing has the potential to play a significant role in reducing the spread of the virus by massively increasing testing in a short-period of time, particularly with the return to in-person teaching at public schools.
The rapid antigen test pilot aims to target 20,000 individuals, including schools, healthcare workers and symptomatic patients, during the upcoming period. To date over 8,000 tests have been conducted.
Dr Al Manea noted that the taskforce has collaborated with the Ministry of Education to ensure the safe return of students to school, adding that health teams have been formed for each school to facilitate the process, and ensure health measures are being implemented for a safe learning environment.
Turning to the health guidelines initiated in public schools across the kingdom, Dr Al Manea highlighted that among the instructions to be followed when identifying a suspected case, is to ensure the school notifies the competent health authorities, communicate with parents, isolate the active case in a designated area at the school premises, identifying the contacts of the active case, as well as other guidelines such as classroom capacity, which include leaving a distance of not less than a meter and a half between student chairs. Dr. Al-Manea reiterated that the health and safety of students is a top priority, and procedures will be followed to ensure the health and safety of everyone.
Dr Al Manea said the recovery rate in the kingdom is currently at 95.61% with a 0.39% death rate. Isolation centre occupancy stands at 10.8%, with 764 beds occupied out of 7,080 available, and 2,375 asymptomatic cases under optional home self-isolation after meeting the set criteria.