Severity: Warning Alert
Exit/Entry: Bahrain permits entry of Gulf Cooperation Council citizens, electronic visa holders, and those eligible for visas on arrival from Sept. 4.
Alert Begins 04 Sep 2020 09:59 PM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Travel and business disruptions
Authorities in Bahrain have announced that, as of Sept. 4, citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, electronic visa holders, and travelers eligible for visas on arrival are permitted to enter the country. A coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test is compulsory upon arrival and will be conducted at the travelers’ expense. Travelers are required to self-isolate until a negative test result is confirmed.
Authorities lifted a mandatory quarantine period for all arrivals in the country effective Aug. 20. Under the new measures, arrivals will be tested twice - once on arrival and then 10 days later - but will be able to end their self-isolation if the first test result is negative. Previously, all arrivals were subject to a 10-day isolation period regardless of the testing outcome. The measure comes amid a gradually phased easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Other measures taken by the government include:
- Authorities began accepting work permit requests Aug. 9. The issuing of work permits for foreigners was initially suspended in March.
- Several economic activities resumed operations. Restaurants remain restricted to food delivery and takeaway only.
- Recreational activities, such as gyms, outdoor sports fields, sports halls, and swimming pools, reopened Aug. 6. Tourism restaurants, including those located in four- and five-star hotels, will also be gradually reopened. Gatherings of up to 20 people are also allowed for special occasions.
- Saudi Arabian nationals currently residing in Bahrain are permitted to return to Saudi Arabia via the King Fahd Causeway without prior permission.
- International travelers are allowed to transit through Bahrain International Airport (BAH).
- Arriving passengers must take a COVID-19 test at their own expense. All arrivals must download the "BeAware Bahrain" application.
- Stringent public health measures are in effect, such as the wearing of protective face coverings and social distancing.
- Authorities extended all valid and expired visit visas through at least Oct. 21. Electronic visa services and other types of visas are open to the public, and visas issued by authorities before the introduction of COVID-19-associated restrictions will still be valid.
- Gulf Air (GF) is operating flights to multiple locations.
- All public and private schools, universities, and nurseries remain closed until further notice.
Background and Analysis
Bahrain's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Individuals affected by the restrictions should consider postponing planned travel. Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.