VIDEO: New virus infections warning as stores reopen

BAHRAINIS and residents have been warned amid an increased risk of coronavirus infections through contact, as stores reopened last night, the GDN's Ghazi Alshehabi reports.

The Health Ministry revealed yesterday that several active cases of Covid-19 were registered due to close social interaction at commercial stores in some of the key areas in the country.

The ministry also stressed the importance of not reverting to normal social behaviour with the resumption of operations at commercial and industrial businesses.

It also urged people to follow social distancing guidelines, abide by a ban on public gatherings of more than five people and wear face masks in public – adding that people should stay at home.

It said in a statement that random Covid-19 testing throughout the country and dedicated contact tracing efforts to track and curtail the spread of the virus have resulted in the registration of active cases in Manama, Muharraq, Busaiteen, Budaiya, Al Eker, Nuwaidrat, Ras Zuwayed, Askar, Zallaq, Juffair, Riffa, Salmabad, Sitra, Jidhafs and the Alba industrial area alongside other areas.

“As a result of close social interaction active cases were also registered at commercial stores, expatriate worker accommodations, warehouses, security and safety companies, cleaning service companies, maintenance companies and medical clinics throughout the kingdom,” said the ministry.

“The ministry reminds citizens and residents to adhere to health recommendations that encourage all to stay at home when possible, practise social distancing, and to wear a mask in public settings.”

Commercial and industrial business providing goods and services resumed operations last night amid strict regulations, including having all employees and customers wear masks.

They should also limit the number of people at any one time to limit overcrowding and enforce social distancing.

Stores and facilities must also be regularly and thoroughly disinfected in accordance with the Health Ministry’s guidelines and appropriate space is marked on the floor to maintain social distancing.

Legislators have also called on the public to strictly abide by regulations put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, with MP Zainab Abdulameer urging people to visit shopping malls and commercial stores only if required.

“The commercial places are open so that people can get the things they need, which is a bold move and one that is very thoughtful by the Crown Prince, and so it requires the people of Bahrain to be thoughtful as well and aware of the necessary precautions,” she said.

“I call on the people of Bahrain to only go out to get things that they need, to hurry back home and abide by social distancing rules.

“The reopening of shops has to be a step forward and not a step backwards, things have not gone back to normal as this was given to us so that we can fulfil our needs.

“Therefore, we must be responsible so that we do not hear of an increase in the number of cases in the coming days.”

Although these outlets have been allowed to reopen, cinemas, gyms and salons will remain closed, while sheesha cafes, restaurants and cafes are limited to take out and delivery services.

A decision by official authorities allowing commercial businesses and shopping malls to resume operations came just at the right time as most commercial outlets are gearing up for Eid Al Fitr holidays, said Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s commercial markets committee chairman Abdul Hakim Al Shammari.

Such a decision will help invigorate the business cycle with more than 5,000 commercial outlets expected to attract thousands of customers which will improve bank cash flows of no less than BD20 million in the days leading up to Eid Al Fitr, he told our sister newspaper Akhbar Al Khaleej.

This will complement government efforts to mitigate the fallout of Covid-19 and protect society from the pandemic, he added.

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