Authorities continue to ease restrictions related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Bahrain as of Oct. 21. Several economic and leisure activities have resumed, albeit with precautionary health measures in place. As part of the government's phased easing of restrictions, restaurants and cafes will be permitted to resume internal services allowing up to 30 persons inside from Oct. 31.
Other measures taken by the government include the following:
- GCC nationals, electronic visa holders, and travelers eligible for visas on arrival are permitted to enter Bahrain. A COVID-19 test is compulsory upon arrival and will be conducted at the travelers’ expense.
- All arrivals will be tested twice - once on arrival and then a second 10 days later. Travelers will be permitted 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.
- Arriving passengers must take a COVID-19 test at their own expense. All arrivals must download the "BeAware Bahrain" application.
- International travelers are allowed to transit through Bahrain International Airport (BAH).
- The King Fahd Causeway is open. Passengers arriving in Bahrain via the causeway are subject to COVID-19 testing on arrival or present the results of a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours of arrival. Travelers are subject to self-quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
- Authorities have begun issuing and accepting work permit requests after suspending the process in March.
- 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 Jan. 21, 2021.
- All public and private schools, universities, and nurseries remain closed until further notice.
Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks
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.