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Bahrain cracks down on restaurants that allegedly violated virus rules

Bahrain is experiencing historic highs in COVID-19 cases, though hospitalizations and deaths remain low.
 A large billboard encourages people to take part in a free vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in the capital, Manama, on Dec. 24, 2020.

The Bahraini government has taken action against several restaurants that allegedly flouted virus rules, state media reported today. 

The Ministry of Health inspected 158 restaurants and cafes across the country yesterday. Authorities closed one restaurant and took “legal action” against 16 others for allegedly violating the country’s Yellow Alert Level measures, the official Bahrain News Agency reported. 

Bahrain instituted the Yellow Alert Level measures in December due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country. Among other things, the rules stipulate that only people who are vaccinated against or have recovered from COVID-19 eat in restaurants. Children under 12 can also dine at restaurants if they are with a vaccinated adult. 

Bahrain is currently averaging an all-time high of 5,200 COVID-19 cases per day among its population of 1.7 million. On the other hand, the average of one death a day is historically low, according to data from Reuters. The Gulf state only reported two coronavirus-related deaths today. There are currently 88 people in the hospital due to the virus, 12 of them in critical condition, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health. 

COVID-19 cases are rising throughout the Gulf due to the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19. 

Bahraini health authorities consider the Omicron variant less severe than previous strains of the coronavirus for vaccinated people. 

Nearly 70% of the Bahraini population is vaccinated against COVID-19 and booster shots are available.