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RIYADH: Bahrain’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic has relied on active collaboration between various sectors in the Gulf State, according to a new WHO report.

The document entitled “Bahrain COVID-19 Case Studies” highlights the country’s wide-ranging efforts to bring the health crisis under control and identifies lessons learned from this response.

The global health body attributes the positive response to strategic partnerships between public and private entities.

Bahrain detected its first case of the virus on February 24, 2020, and case numbers have remained relatively low during the pandemic, with only short-lived surges due to the delta and omicron variants. The country has lost 1,495 people to the disease since the start of the pandemic, according to news organization Our World in Data.

The study was presented by Ahmed Al-Mandhari, head of the health organization for the Eastern Mediterranean region.

“I would like to recognize the resilience of the health system in Bahrain throughout the pandemic, and its continued provision of essential health services for all, within a framework of accessibility, acceptability, availability and quality,” said said Al-Mandhari.

“This new report provides us with a valuable reminder: Together we can face health emergencies, and together we can build back stronger,” he said during a joint press conference with Jaleela S. Jawad Hasan. , Minister of Health, Tuesday.

Hasan described some of the strategies that had helped control the virus in the small island kingdom of 1.7 million people.

Even before the first case emerged, Hasan said, Bahrain created a national task force coupled with a 24-hour war room, including representatives from various sectors. A multilingual public media awareness campaign was also launched.

The report says that by utilizing its existing health infrastructure, the kingdom “has capitalized on and augmented its existing resources and has displayed a level of readiness and synergy of efforts from both the top-down and bottom-up” .

King Hamad’s decision to provide free tests and vaccines to the public was one of the positive steps in handling the crisis, the report’s authors said.

Lessons learned from what the country has achieved provide “invaluable insights into best practices which, when shared, will have far-reaching and lasting effects beyond Bahrain’s borders”, the report concludes.

Hasan said Bahrain was committed to its cooperation with the WHO to fight the pandemic and achieve global health goals, according to Bahrain News Agency.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health reported 40 active cases hospitalized, including 15 critical.

Bahrain removed most COVID-19 restrictions in February, removing capacity limits for indoor venues and testing and vaccination requirements for travelers to the kingdom.