Caronavirus tracing app introduced in Bahrain

A coronavirus (COVID-19) tracing app has been introduced by Bahrain’s health authorities to provide users with COVID-19 updates within the Kingdom. It aims to keep everyone updated and spread awareness in an effort to contain the virus. 21 March, 2020

Bahrain’s health authorities have launched the ‘BeAware’ app, which aims to support efforts to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) by advancing contact tracing efforts, and raising awareness of active cases within the Kingdom.

The app will provide users with COVID-19 updates within the Kingdom, spread awareness of the location of active cases and maintain accurate figures from contact tracing data provided by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health.

The app will also identify contact tracing cases and alert individuals in the event they approach an active case or a location where an active case has visited or passed by.

The Kingdom’s health authorities have stressed that all information provided by the app will be confidential and protected to ensure the privacy of citizens and residents. People are free to download the app or turn on its location services entirely by choice.

Contact tracing is an internationally recommended method of safeguarding public health, currently being utilised globally as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Government has urged all citizens and residents to download the app in order to protect themselves and their families as well as to support national efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The app will soon be released to the public and will be available to download free of charge on iOS and Android from – TradeArabia News Service

Tenders awarded and bids opened in the latest round from the Tender Board according to The Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry.

The latest round of tenders have been awarded worth $17.8 million covering consultancy services and construction of roads and rainwater drainage. Bids totaling $119.3 million were also opened covering various roading, sewerage and construction projects., 18 March, 2020

Eight bids with a total value of $17.8m awarded, along with eight bids worth $119.3m opened

Tenders worth more than $134.2 million were opened for bids and awarded in February 2020, a statement from Bahrain’s The Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry has said, pointing out that these included bids for several roads, sewage, construction and maintenance projects.

The statement added that the Tender Board, which is the independent regulator of Bahrain’s government procurement activities, awarded eight bids with a total value of $17.82 million, while a further eight bids with opened, with an estimated value of $119.3 million.

Ahmed Abdulaziz Al Khayat, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning said the projects will meet citizen’s needs.

“One of the most prominent projects awarded last month was the construction of a road leading to Al Louzi housing in Hamad Town, at a cost of BD5.2 million,” he stated.

“In addition other projects awarded were related to engineering consultancy services for East Sitra Street project, at a cost of $1.12 million, and another project to construct a main line for rainwater drainage to connect a housing project in Eker, at a cost of $646,121,” remarked Al Khayat.

He added that February saw bid invites extended for the construction of Southern Bahrain Loop Road (second phase), expansion project of Shaikh Isa Bin Salman Highway and the development of Al Jasra Street (second phase).

Nearly 60 purchase orders worth $190,711 were approved last month, he concluded.

Bahrain launches a $11.3 billion stimulus package.

A $11.3 billion stimulus package will be implemented by Bahrain’s government to support it’s citizen’s during the cornonvirus (COVID-19) pandemic, representing 29.6% of Bahrain’s annual GDP. The eight point package will include relief from municipality and utility bills and salary payments. 18 March, 2020

The government of Bahrain has announced an $11.38 billion economic stimulus package to support its citizens and the private sector amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The stimulus package is equivalent to 29.6 percent of Bahrain’s annual GDP.

The eight-point package includes a draft law – not yet passed – that concerns paying the salaries of all private sector employees for three months from April 2020 from the unemployment fund, following constitutional procedures and in line with the country’s social insurance law.

Additionally, all water and utility bills will be paid for three months from April, up to the cost incurred during the same period in 2019.

Individuals and businesses will also be exempt from municipal and industrial land rental fees for three months, while tourism-related companies will be except from tourism levies.

Bahrain’s liquidity fund will also be doubled to $529.7 million, while the Central Bank’s loan facilities will be increased to $9.7bn to allow debt instalments to be deferred and extra credit to be extended.

Lastly, Tamkeen – a semi-autonomous government agency that provides loans and assistance to business – has been tasked with supporting adversely affected companies and restricting al the debts it has issued.

There have been 241 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Bahrain, including one death.

$3 million invested in Bahrain’s ICT sector

Several Indian IT firms have invested in Bahrain’s information, communication and technology (ICT) sector. Made up of IT consultants, software and hardware developers, the combined investments total more than $3 million which was approved by Bahrain’s Economic Development Board in 2019. To read more click here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update from PRIME

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with information and the speed at which decisions are being made during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Just today we received notification from CAA (Civil Aviation Affairs) that flights will be reduced as a precautionary measure to contain the outbreak. Visa’s on arrival will also be suspended as advised by the Nationality, Passport & Residence Affairs (NPRA), although visas for diplomatic passport holders, electronic visa services and visa’s issued by the NPRA before this notice will still be valid.

At PRIME we are keeping up to date with all developments and notifications from the Ministries to ensure our services are not impacted. We are also taking some preventative measures to protect the health of our serviced office residents, our team members and visitors to the offices.

We are closely following the guidelines and advice of the Ministry of Health and have introduced a variety of measures to minimise the impact to public health.

Cleaning in and around our serviced offices has been intensified particularly around the common areas such as door handles, security key pads, office equipment, kitchen areas, toilets and reception. Our staff are requested to regularly sanitise their hands and to maintain distance when interacting with customers.

We have placed hand sanitiser at the reception area on each of our floors of which all are welcome and encouraged to use. We have installed dispensers next to the exit buttons, being a routinely touched surface.

Any of our team members who show even mild signs of flu-like symptoms have been advised to follow the government advice surrounding medical care and self-isolation, and we are ensuring that team members are supported fully during this time.

Rest assured we are continuing to monitor the situation and follow directions given by government agencies as necessary to protect the health of our customers and our teams. It is business as usual for PRIME and we will continue to provide the quality service that you are all accustomed to.

If you have any questions regarding the above including the status of any visa’s we have applied for you, please do not hesitate to call us on +973 17570400 or follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

Incoming flights into Bahrain will be reduced starting from 03:00 on Wednesday, 18 March 2020 as announced by The Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA).

Bahrain News Agency 15 Mar, 2020 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 highlighted that this decision has been taken to help contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and safeguard the health and safety of citizens and residents.

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 Organization (WHO).

Furthermore, the Nationality, Passport & Residence Affairs (NPRA) at the Ministry of Interior has announced 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.

Italian company to supply equipment for a new module factory in Bahrain.

A 25MV capacity solar module manufacturing facility will be built by Bahrain-based Salartecc Green Energy Factory. Production equipment will be supplied by Italian company Ecoprogetti and planned to begin from the third quarter. To read more click here.

Bahrain will soon be able to conduct large financial transactions between Gulf States.

The new unnamed company will soon provide the facility to allow large transactions to take place. The company is backed by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and will have two headquarters – one in Riyadh and one Abu Dhabi. To read more click here

Important notification from the LMRA

The LMRA (Labour Market Regulatory Authority) has issued a notification stating all employers must now attach a copy of the labour contract in Arabic or provide a bilingual contract that includes Arabic.

This applies to any new application or local transfer request for expatriate labour. Labour contracts that are submitted without the Arabic version will be rejected.

This new requirement will come into effect on 1st March 2020.

PRIME offers registered certified translations as part of their extensive range of business services. If you require fast and reliable translations for your labour contracts to satisfy LMRA requirements please contact us now.

Bahrain’s second solar panels factory on way

“A SECOND factory that manufactures solar panels will open in Bahrain, leading to greater affordability of renewable energy.” GDNOnline 13 Feb, 2020

The cornerstone of what will be the Solartecc Green factory was laid down yesterday by Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) president Dr Abdulhussain Mirza at the facility’s site in the Hidd Industrial Area.

This will be the second factory that produces solar panels in the country, after Solar One opened in 2017.

It will be built on an area of 4,000 square metres and produce approximately 25 megawatts annually, equivalent to 80,000 solar panels, with the highest international standards in Bahrain.

Dr Mirza told the GDN that construction of the BD2 million factory is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

“This shows that there is a big demand for solar energy projects and this factory will help fulfil that need,” he said.

“It is also in line with our strategy to encourage the adoption of solar energy.

“This will make solar panels more readily available and hopefully more affordable, the technology has evolved over the last five years that there has been a 70 to 80 per cent reduction in the price of solar panels.

“People who used solar panels before and thought it was too expensive can now give it another chance due to the reduced price and support from the SEA and Tamkeen that will make it more accessible.”

The new factory will also provide a number of job opportunities for Bahrainis who specialise in this field.

Dr Mirza added that this would help Bahrain fulfil its international obligations, such as the Paris Accord, to help reduce carbon emissions and attract investors to the country through the renewable energy sector.

The GDN reported in December on plans to diversify sources of energy, as part of a two-pronged strategy to develop fossil and renewable energy.

Dr Mirza said at the time that the authority’s drive to attract regional and international firms to invest in renewable energy projects in Bahrain would benefit the national economy.

He also said it will help fulfil the goals of the national strategy that aims to optimise energy efficiency by 6pc and attain 5pc of total energy production from renewable energy by 2025.

The national blueprint also aspires to develop the rate of contribution of renewable energy to 15pc by 2035, alongside other efforts to boost fossil energies.

The National Renewable Energy Action Plan and the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan aim to save energy worth BD230 million.