Doctors and nurses are seen doing their final check on the equipment in a makeshift ICU "Field Intensive Care Unit 1" set up by Bahrian authorities to treat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) critical patients, at a car-park of Bahrain Defence Force Hospital in Riffa, Bahrain, April 14, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Manama: Bahrain’s circuit breaker to choke off the spread of the coronavirus will be extended to Ramadan, which is associated with extra piety and devoutness as well as large family and social gatherings, while existing measures will be reinforced.

Preventive measures announced by the Government Executive Committee at a meeting chaired by Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Tuesday included limiting Iftar (breaking fast) to small family gatherings and refraining from hosting public Iftar banquets and from the public distribution of iftar packages.

Social restrictions included refraining from organising or attending Ramadan Majlises and Ghabgas (the late dinner hosted by families, companies and institutions) and from holding celebratory events such as Garagoon.

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Kiosks usually set up to accept Zakat Al Fitr (the charity taken for the poor and needy a few days before the end of Ramadan) will be replaced with electronic platforms and applications for the collection and distribution of Zakat Al Fitr.

The Government Executive Committee overseeing all measures taken to combat the spread of the virus said that all movie theatres, commercial sports gymnasiums, fitness studios, swimming pools, and centres for recreational activities will remain closed until May 7.

The ban also covers shisha cafes, hair salons and non-essential medical services provided by private health clinics.

Restaurants, tourist facilities and locations serving food will be limited to external orders and delivery services and the first hour of grocery store openings will be dedicated to the elderly and pregnant women. Commercial and industrial enterprises providing goods or services directly to customers will be limited to online sales and deliveries.

Gatherings will remain limited to a maximum of five individuals and face masks are to be worn by all citizens and residents in public.

The committee said that people should to stay at home as long as possible and should leave home only when necessary.

The Crown Prince stressed that safeguarding the health of citizens and residents remains the Kingdom’s top priority and that the success of Team Bahrain’s efforts to contain and eradicate COVID-19 rely on the whole community adhering to official public health guidelines.

“We reiterate the importance of following established public health guidelines that have been issued to preserve the health and safety of citizens and residents during the holy month of Ramadan and beyond,” the Executive Committee said.