More than 60pc of stranded citizens evacuated

BAHRAIN has brought home more than 60 per cent of its citizens who were stranded abroad since the global outbreak of Covid-19.

A total of 6,422 Bahrainis have registered for the government’s International Covid-19 Repatriation Programme (ICRP), of which 3,878 have so far been evacuated from various countries around the world.


Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Shaikha Rana bint Isa Al Khalifa yesterday said the process will continue until the end of May – pledging that no Bahraini will be left behind.

“There were 6,422 Bahrainis abroad (who registered with us) of which 3,878 have been evacuated from various countries until now and work is still ongoing to evacuate the remaining citizens,” said Dr Shaikha Rana.

“We have a timeline that would end in May for the rest of them to be brought back and we have arranged hundreds of flights for this.”

Dr Shaikha Rana said the Foreign Ministry continued to support national efforts to tackle the spread of the coronavirus and implement all precautionary measures.

“In the context of the evacuation plan, the ICRP, the ministry is in close co-ordination with its diplomatic missions to communicate with citizens outside Bahrain to arrange evacuation trips and to ensure their safe return,” she said.

“The ministry began evacuating citizens in co-ordination with the Health Ministry and the Covid-19 Task Force to ensure medical preparations in Bahrain to receive them in line with the criteria approved by the World Health Organisation.”

She added that citizens have been returned from India, Jordan, Egypt, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Emirates, and Oman.

“From some large countries, such as India, it required double efforts to bring home our citizens due to the wide geographic distances,” she explained.

“In the past months, we have recorded an increased number of calls at the missions which are operational round the clock and they are recording the data of all citizens who communicated with them.

“The information of those abroad and wishing to return to Bahrain has been updated on a daily basis, which is provided to the National Covid-19 Task Force in order to facilitate their safe return and their accommodation when they come here.

“The missions are also in touch with the citizens regarding their medical and other needs.”

Another set of Bahrainis were flown back from Iran yesterday via a Gulf Air flight.

The Health Ministry said the flight followed all preventive medical protocols.

Meanwhile, Dr Shaikha Rana also stressed that the ministry was in contact with all foreign embassies in Bahrain as part of co-ordination efforts to raise awareness and implement precautionary measures to combat the virus.

“A number of (Covid-19 related) instructions issued by the official authorities have been translated in several languages including English, Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog and Bengali to spread awareness among the public,” she said.

“The co-ordination is continuing with the relevant authorities in Bahrain to facilitate bringing some medical and nutritional products from friendly countries to enhance the stock.

“We are also in touch with embassies, especially of the larger expat communities, and are working in co-ordination.”

Dr Shaikha Rana was addressing an online Press conference held yesterday alongside Labour Market Regulatory Authority chief executive Ausamah Al Absi, Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Waleed Al Manea, National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus (Covid-19) monitoring committee head Lt Col Dr Manaf Al Qahtani and SMC infectious and internal diseases consultant Dr Jameela Al Salman.




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