Coronavirus COVID-19 FAQs

The RCSI Bahrain campus is closed until further notice after the announcement made by the Government Executive Committee chaired by HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister declaring the suspension of studies in public and private schools, as well as higher education institution premises until further notice. 

Please continue to refer to this page and the latest official advice and guidance from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Higher Education Council (HEC), and other government entities.

The Coronavirus disease referred to as (COVID-19) is a new strain of Coronavirus that was recently discovered in China.

It can be transmitted from person to person by:

  • Direct contact
  • Droplets from sneezing, coughing, or talking

The main clinical symptoms of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are Cough, Fever, and Shortness of Breath.

The first symptoms of (COVID-19) and influenza (flu) infections are often very similar. They both cause fever and similar respiratory symptoms, which can then range from mild to severe disease, and sometimes can be fatal.

Both viruses are also transmitted in the same way, by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus. As a result, the same public health measures, such as hand hygiene (hand washing), good respiratory etiquette (coughing into your elbow or into a tissue and immediately disposing of the tissue) and good household cleaning are important actions to prevent both infections.

The speed of transmission is an important difference between the two viruses. Influenza typically has a shorter incubation period (the time from infection to appearance of symptoms) than (COVID-19). This means that influenza can spread faster than (COVID-19).

While the range of symptoms for the two viruses is similar, the fraction with severe disease appears to be higher for (COVID-19). While most people have mild symptoms, approximately 15% of people have severe infections and 5% require intensive care in a hospital ICU. The proportions of severe and critical (COVID-19) infections are higher than for influenza infections.

The infection period for the virus will vary from person to person. Mild symptoms in an otherwise healthy individual may resolve over just a few days. Similar to influenza, for an individual with other ongoing health issues, such as a respiratory condition, recovery may take weeks and in severe cases could be potentially fatal.

There are no vaccines that protect against COVID-19. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has undertaken the ‘Solidarity Trial’, which will test coronavirus treatment approaches across several countries and compare data to find which treatments may be most effective. Bahrain, along with other countries such as Argentina, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand are included in the trial. These clinical trials on medications have taken place, but it is still too early to know whether the medication will be effective or not.

Although there is no specific treatment for COVID-19, the President of the Supreme Council of Health Lt. General Dr. Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Head of the National Taskforce to Combat Coronavirus COVID-19, has affirmed that the therapeutic protocol of the Kingdom of Bahrain which uses Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) medication in treating COVID-19-infected cases has proven its effectiveness in alleviating the symptoms of the virus and reducing its complications. HCQ is used as a main cure for diseases like malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It proved to be very effective in alleviating virus-related symptoms, mainly pneumonia, pain, and fever.

Precautions to take:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap or disinfect hands with sanitisers containing a minimum of 60% alcohol
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • Keep your distance (3m) and avoid direct contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness such as coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid mass gatherings
  • Cook meat and eggs thoroughly
  • Follow the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and of the World Health Organisation (WHO) at all times

Wearing face masks in public places has been made mandatory in Bahrain, as part of enhanced measures to combat the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19). Everyone, whether sick or healthy, must wear a surgical or homemade face mask while going to public places.

People who have symptoms and might be infected with (COVID-19) are required to stay in isolation at home and should wear a surgical face mask when in the same room as another person and when seeking medical advice to reduce the risk of transmitting (COVID-19) to anyone else. Health care workers who are caring for patients with suspected (COVID-19) should use appropriate personal protective equipment to protect themselves against (COVID-19).

People with confirmed (COVID-19) infection stay in isolation under the care of medical specialists until they are no longer experiencing symptoms of (COVID-19) infection. Before they are released from isolation, they have tests to see if they still have (COVID-19) and the specialist care team assesses they are no longer infectious. Once they are discharged, they have a follow up assessment by the medical team to make sure they remain well.

Yes. If you are sharing your home with others, you should stay in a different room from other people or be separated as much as possible. Wear a surgical mask when you are in the same room as another person, and when seeking medical care. Use a separate bathroom, if available.

Make sure that you do not share a room with people who are at risk of severe disease, such as elderly people and those who have heart, lung or kidney conditions, and diabetes.

Visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home should not visit while you are isolating.

While (COVID-19) seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now mainly spreading from person-to-person. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets might be a source of infection with this new virus. There have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with (COVID-19.

There is also no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread (COVID-19). However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.

Anyone who experiences symptoms of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) or may have been in contact with a person who has the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is advised to contact the Hotline (444).

Citizens and residents of Bahrain returning from abroad must register for medical examinations online or by calling 444. during the past 14 days, must register for medical examinations online or by calling 444.

RCSI Bahrain has complied with all the advice and guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and Higher Education Council and will continue to take direction from them in all aspects of this situation.

We are monitoring the situation closely and we will continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to our University community.

Leaving Bahrain

On March 15th, the Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) has announced a reduction in the number of incoming flights to the Kingdom of Bahrain until further notice, effective 03h00 on Wednesday, 18 March 2020. The CAA stressed that it is coordinating extensively with airline companies and other stakeholders throughout the Kingdom to ensure that arriving passengers are thoroughly tested, in line with guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Travel to Bahrain

The Nationality, Passport & Residence Affairs (NPRA) at the Ministry of Interior has announced on March 15th the suspension of visas on-arrival across the Kingdom’s entry points until further notice, effective 03h00 on Wednesday, 18 March 2020. The NPRA noted that the visa on arrival service will still be available for diplomatic passport holders at the Kingdom’s entry points, adding that electronic visa services and other types of visas will still be open to the public, and visa’s issued by the NPRA before this notice will still be valid.

Bahrain International Airport provides updated information in this link:

http://www.bahrainairport.com/en/before-you-fly/bia-against-covid-19.html

Information on Arrivals at Bahrain International Airport as of 28th May 2020:

  • Passengers are advised to check with their airlines to confirm the status of their flights in advance
  • Entry into Bahrain remains restricted to nationals and residents, and travelers holding a letter of prior permission to enter.
  • All arriving passengers will be routed through the airport as per their travel histories and countries of travel origin, and the symptoms reported, if any, by each of them. They will be taken to designated areas of the airport for mandatory clinical examinations. Passengers will be advised of further courses of action by the Ministry of Health (MoH) staff upon completion of the tests. For any inquiries regarding COVID-19, please contact the Ministry of Health Call Centre on 444.

Important Notice:

  • If you are unwell in Bahrain with cough, fever, difficulty breathing, please stay at home, call 444 and follow instructions provided

For students, please liaise with your SARA coordinator or the Student Health and Wellbeing Centre.

For staff, please liaise with HR.

This situation is evolving, and staff and students should continue to regularly check the RCSI Bahrain FAQ page along with the following online resources:

Students with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, immunosuppressive drug therapy including systemic corticosteroid treatment, heart conditions, neurological disorders and morbid obesity are at higher risk for Covid 19 illness and complications. If you have any of the above conditions, or you consider yourself to be at higher risk due to a condition not identified above, you should inform the Student Health and Wellbeing Unit.

For more information on how Bahrain is battling COVID-19 please download the following documents

Bahrain Ministry of Health - Recommended Response for Workplaces Guidelines PDF | 217.2 KB Bahrain Ministry of Health - Home Quarantine and Disinfection Guidelines PDF | 771.6 KB

RCSI Bahrain Contribution to COVID-19 Clinical Trials

RCSI Bahrain has been honourably nominated to support the COVID-19 clinical trials in Bahrain under the direction of Professor Stephen Atkin, Head of School of Postgraduate Research.

With the aim to enhance the treatment protocols for COVID-19 patients in Bahrain and beyond, RCSI Bahrain sponsored the National Convalescent Plasma Clinical Trial in COVID-19 patients, in collaboration with the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital (BDF) and the Ministry of Health. This initiative comes under the directives from the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) President and taskforce head, His Excellency Lieutenant General Dr Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.

The clinical trial, which is being conducted in three centres around Bahrain, entails taking antibody-rich plasma that has been given by subjects that have recovered from COVID-19 and injecting it into patients who are severely suffering from the disease. Patients who have contracted COVID-19 and require oxygen therapy will be randomised to either the plasma treatment with supporting care, or normal supporting care, both of which will include drug treatment against the virus.