Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Bahrain International Airport reopens for transit passengers April 4; entry to Bahrain remains restricted to citizens only.

This alert affects Bahrain

This alert began 04 Apr 2020 14:12 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry and travel restrictions; disruptions to flight services and businesses

Summary
Bahrain's flag carrier - Gulf Air (GF) - announced April 4 that transit through Bahrain International Airport (BAH) is now permitted for international travelers. Full entry into Bahrain remains restricted to Bahraini citizens and residents only.

Authorities have introduced a series of preventive restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Bahraini authorities have closed all nonessential businesses until 1900 April 9. Grocery stores, medical facilities, banks, and other essential businesses will remain open.

Previously enacted measures in Bahrain include:


 

  • Suspension of visas on-arrival for all nationalities until further notice from March 18. Electronic visa services and other types of visas will still be open to the public, and visas issued by authorities before the change will still be valid. From March 18, all non-diplomatic passengers to the Kingdom must obtain an e-visa before their departure. The Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) also announced a reduction in the number of incoming flights to the Kingdom until further notice from March 18;

 

  • GF is to operate just 13 of its 49 destinations on reduced service, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Mumbai; flights to and from Saudi Arabia remain suspended;
  • Flights to and from Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and Morocco remain suspended until further notice;
  • The King Fahd Causeway, linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, remains closed until further notice;
  • All individuals arriving in the Kingdom from other destinations will be subject to medical examinations recommended by the WHO and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of their arrival;
  • Gatherings of more than 20 people are prohibited. 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.

Advice
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.

Resources
Bahrain International Airport: www.bahrainairport.com

Gulf Air (GF): www.gulfair.com

Bahrain's Civil Aviation Affairs: mtt.gov.bh

Bahrain's Nationality, Passport & Residence Affairs (NPRA) office: www.npra.gov.bh

World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int