Causeway set to reopen in phases

PLANS to reopen passenger movement on the causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will be done gradually.

The GDN reported yesterday that King Fahad Causeway is set to reopen next month after the Eid Al Adha holidays – based on reports by Saudi media.

The causeway has been closed for passenger movement since March as part of efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19, with trade and emergency activities continuing.

Following meetings with officials, Northern Municipal Council member Mohammed Al Dossary, whose constituency covers the causeway, said next month’s phased reopening will first target Saudi and Bahraini nationals.

“The opening is gradual and will be done in phases with only school and university students, workers, businessmen and property owners, and driving learners being allowed through first,” he told the GDN.

“Then following a four-week assessment of the infection rate in both countries, tourism will resume.”

Parliament’s second vice-chairman Ali Al Zayed said legislators were closely monitoring the situation with representatives from both Saudi and Bahraini authorities – adding that the originally proposed reopening date had to be pushed back.

“The number of Covid-19 cases in both countries has gone down this month while the number of recoveries is high, but the original reopening date of July 27 was wrong because it falls a few days before Eid,” he said.

“This has led to the date to be pushed back by at least a week.”

The King Fahad Causeway Authority previously said the eventual reopening will witness the introduction of the first phase of a comprehensive electronic payment system.

In recent weeks the gateway cabins on the Saudi side have been demolished and replaced with new ones.

Finance and National Economy Minister Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa revealed last month that travel through the causeway had plummeted by 99 per cent and by 98pc at Bahrain International Airport since the Covid-19 outbreak, while flights had reduced by 79pc.

It was also revealed that visitors to shopping malls have dropped by 91pc, while hotel occupancy dropped by 72pc, and fuel sales reduced by 32pc.




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