Medical staff are seen in the newly-inaugurated intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients at the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital in Riffa on Tuesday. AFP
Fully equipped beds are seen in a makeshift ICU 'Field Intensive Care Unit 1' set up by Bahrian authorities. Ruters
The new ICU in the covered car park was set up as a precautionary measure in case of a spike in cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease, officials said.
The small country, whose population stands at 1.5 million, has recorded more than 1,500 cases, of whom seven people have died and 645 have recovered.
According to official statistics, only three people are currently in critical condition.
"The new ICU is a precautionary step in case there are any developments," Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Al-Khalifa, the Royal Medical Services commander, told reporters at the inauguration.
Doctors and nurses are seen walking out of a makeshift ICU 'Field Intensive Care Unit 1.' Reuters
"We are able in record time, in seven days, to establish this unit with 130 beds... working day and night. "This is the first time that such an equipped (temporary) unit has been established in the Gulf."
The emirate of Dubai is meanwhile setting up a field hospital in the World Trade Centre which once hosted events and business conferences to prepare for a any potential surge of the virus.
The hospital will have 3,030 beds, 800 of which will be allocated to the ICU, according to Ali Abdulqader, director of engineering at the centre.
Bahrain's new ICU was set up by the defence ministry in cooperation with other government bodies, on the third floor of a military hospital which had served as a parking lot.
The beds were lined up in three rows as medical staff tested respiratory equipment on Tuesday.
Some 800 doctors and nurses have been training to deal with infected patients in critical condition since February, when Bahrain recorded its first cases, according to Nayef Lori, director of the ICU project.
Bahrain has taken strict measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, including restricting movement and halting all flights.
The bridge connecting Bahrain with Saudi Arabia — which has the highest number of cases in the Gulf with nearly 5,000 infections — has been closed for weeks.
Although many measures remain in place, Bahraini authorities loosened some restrictions last week by allowing some retail stores to open their doors.
The announcement brings the country's tally of confirmed virus cases up to 289, according to ministry's spokesman Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad. In addition, 216 virus patients are still receiving necessary treatment, while 13 others are in intensive care units.
A total of 75,538 deaths have been recorded, including 53,928 in Europe, the continent worst hit by the virus. The official tallies probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of cases. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.
In moves to prevent panic over the coronavirus in Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, President Hassan Rouhani appealed to people not to spread rumours and the judiciary banned most officials from announcing numbers of those infected.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid also dispatched a message of condolence to Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the victims of the train collision
At least 288 people were killed and hundreds more injured in a three-train collision in India, officials said Saturday, the country's deadliest rail accident in more than 20 years.
The nation-wide campaign aims to spread awareness about the environmental sustainability issues, encourage local community engagement and support climate action-related strategies.