Partial curfew call is backed

A PUBLIC call for a partial curfew to complement efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) has been backed by prominent community members, including a senior MP.

The GDN has also been approached by a number of residents and citizens who expressed concern over people ignoring social distancing rules and a ban on public gatherings in Manama, Riffa, Hamad Town and Muharraq.

However, the National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus (Covid-19) has repeatedly said there was no need for a curfew at the moment.

MP Ahmed Al Salloom, who is also board member of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the situation was “worrying”.

He was one of the legislators who last month called for a nationwide curfew from 6pm to 5am, with special exemption for people whose jobs required them to be out during the period.

On March 24, Parliament voted in favour of the proposal to limit the spread of the virus and referred it to the Cabinet for review.

“We definitely need a partial curfew, as we still have people going to work daily,” said Mr Al Salloom.

“With supermarkets and other essential services functioning, it is understandable to see people around.

“But it is unacceptable to see people out in the evenings, or crowding public places on the weekends.

“We have also seen people playing football, which is not ideal at a time like this.

“The high number of Covid-19 cases among expatriate labourers is alarming; we are a small community and the virus can spread easily.

“If people don’t understand the severity of the problem, or are not serious, we need to implement a partial curfew.

“We should have more community police and random testing units in main areas like Manama so that people will realise they will be questioned if found outside.”


Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Waleed Al Manea and Taskforce Monitoring Committee head Lieutenant Colonel Dr Manaf Al Qahtani have previously said the ban on public gatherings, if followed faithfully, was sufficient to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

However, Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) senior resident Dr P V Cheriyan said a partial curfew must be enforced if people are not following guidelines.

“Social distancing and stay at home are the two golden rules for this situation and if these are not followed – be it out of ignorance or callousness – then it should be dealt with seriously by implementing stricter laws,” he said.

“If a partial lockdown can help, then we should go for it.

“And if the community is not shouldering the responsibility wisely, legal ways should be adopted, as it is risking the whole country otherwise.”

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has repeatedly urged the public’s co-operation in the country’s fight against the virus.

“When you protect yourself, you protect your society, so leave your home only for necessity and wear masks in public places and shops,” it said on Twitter.

“Social distancing is a necessity, so keep at least one-metre distance from others for the safety of all.

“General safety is the responsibility of all, so follow instructions to protect the community.”

A long-term resident who lives in Buhair told the GDN he was concerned at the way people were seen crowding near the food trucks and at the walkway in the area.

“Every evening the place is crowded with food trucks and most of their customers are not wearing masks and gloves,” he said.

“It is overcrowded near the garden as well; people are taking it lightly.”

Residents in Gudaibiya and Hoora said the parks there were also full of people in the evenings.

“We still see the labourers sitting in groups and chatting, without masks, in the garden behind Dasman Centre,” said one Pakistani national.

“Gudaibiya is always crowded in the evenings; I don’t think most of them are out because they have to, it’s for casual shopping or walks.”




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