Free virus tests for citizens approved

BAHRAINIS could be exempted from paying for Covid-19 tests when departing or returning to the country.

The proposal by five MPs was unanimously approved by Parliament in its weekly session yesterday.

It covers King Fahad Causeway, Bahrain International Airport and Khalifa Bin Salman Port.

People coming into Bahrain have to pay BD60 for Covid-19 tests, one on entry and another 10 days later.

Currently some airlines and certain destinations demand that passengers take a test from accredited private clinics no longer than 72 hours before travelling at another cost.

Bahrainis crossing through the causeway or the airport to go to Mecca and Medina from November 1 will also need to get fresh tests.

Dr Abdulla Al Thawadi, who is leading the proposal, said most of those travelling to and from Bahrain nowadays are frequent flyers.

“Most of the travellers nowadays have to go and come back because their jobs require being around the globe, and every time they have to leave and come back they will be forced to pay around BD100,” he said.

Mohammed Buhamood said Bahrainis should not have to pay BD30 before travelling and it was ‘impractical’ to insist they queue up for random testing.

“Should they decide to return from education, business or work-related trips they would also be forced to pay BD60 for two more tests, which is an additional cost they may be unable to afford,” he added.

Abdulla Al Dossary said tests should be free for now as fewer people are travelling, adding that the issue could be revisited when demand increased during school holidays.

“The trips are nowadays for work and treatment and not fun so adding misery on top of seven miserable months is just imposing more costs on people trying to keep their businesses alive or patients fighting for their lives.”

Parliament and Shura Council Minister Ghanim Al Buainain said a similar proposal presented by Zainab Abdulamir was under study in Parliament’s services committee.




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