In Bahrain, a look at the bright side of a pandemic

The view of a Bahrain highway from the author's window. (Eya Labidi/YJI)

BAHRAIN – For several months now, humanity has been waging war against the threat posed by the coronavirus.

Globally, the virus has so far killed over 376,300 people and sickened more than six million, according to the World Health Organization. People have been in a panic, the economy is in crisis and things seem to be getting worse.

Everyone is praying. No one knows when this epidemic will vanish. The end is unpredictable.

Top scientists and researchers are working hard to find a medicine to beat covid-19 and to win the battle.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine yet. Thus, each country must find its own way to fight and avoid the epidemic.

As some countries still struggle to contain the spread of covid-19, Bahrain has been praised for its efforts to handle the crisis. In this small island, precautionary measures were taken at an early stage while trying to not affect the lifestyle of its residents.

According to a June 2 report from the World Health Organization, Bahrain had a total of 11,871 total cases and 19 deaths.

Bahrain announced the temporary closure of schools, enhancement of virtual school as well as the launch of working from home in both the public and private sectors.

Gatherings of more than five people are banned and people must wear masks in public or face a fine.

Shops, cinemas and restaurants are closed and virtual malls are promoted. The financial measures taken to support commercial businesses and private individuals – loans and free water and electricity for three months – helped.

More than that, a big public awareness campaign was launched to combat covid-19.

A mobile application, BeAware, notifies individuals when they’re approaching a location where an active case has been detected. This app updates citizens about the global and local information concerning the virus.

In Bahrain, random and scheduled large scale tests have been conducted. There are drive through tests, too.

These measures are still evolving, but the country’s determination and commitment to fighting covid-19 make me proud to be a resident of Bahrain. I feel secure and confident that we are in good hands.

But we should continue to be safe, respect the instruction and stay aware in order to help the government in the battle.

Covid-19 turned our world upside down and our daily life seems to have been suspended for months.

The author practices long distance learning. (YJI photo)

In an Arabic and Muslim country like Bahrain, covid-19’s impact was amplified during Ramadan, Islam’s most holy month.

There were no prayers in the mosques, no possibility to visit Mecca, no extended family dinner and no traditional Gargaoun event for children or Ghabga gatherings in the evenings of Ramadan.

But covid-19 has shown us and our Earth unexpected benefits and opportunities.  The Earth starts finally to live and breathe, as if humanity sacrificed for her well being. This Earth, so neglected by humans despite her several emergency calls, has been rescued suddenly by a microscopic virus.

The confinement of the population, the curfews, the restrictions on economic activities; air, land and sea traffic bans, as well as the closure of industries have led to a surprising reduction of the environmental pollution’s impact.

Consequently, Earth’s soul came back to her body and began to live. In some places, the air quality is much improved.

Covid-19 helped the Earth to survive, and showed us again its beauty. It has also brought re-ignited the candle in us, giving us more brightness and fresh fragrance.

Due to the confinement, we’ve been at home, surrounded by our beloved family members. Breakfast, lunch, dinner all around the same table are memorable moments that had nearly lost.

Far from cinema, shopping, parties, restaurants, after school activities and festivals, we’ve tried to occupy ourselves and to create a good home atmosphere. We learned to cook, to play, to watch and to laugh as a family. There has been more communication and our common values appeared.

I discovered the complexity of my father’s job. I understood the stressful situation in his work and his way of managing and dealing with some responsibilities.

I appreciated my mother’s love and dedication. She is always here trying to assist and motivate all of us.

I discovered my sister’s creativity. I worked on myself, finally finding the time to take on new lessons and took part in online competitions.

The most valuable gain is that we became more closer by spending almost three months together day and night. This strange situation became our new life that we started to enjoy. These moments at home are precious and will be engraved in our hearts forever.

Do we really need a virus to understand the true meaning of life? To be aware about the Earth’s safety? To appreciate our families and humanity?

Did it take a virus for us to feel the true value of all things that we took for granted?

Tunisian delights the author and her family prepared. (Eya Labidi/YJI)

The answer is: Yes. That microscopic virus held the power of change. It made us leave our comfort zone and discover the best of ourselves and our families.

It had the power to teach us unforgettable values and helped us develop self-esteem, gratitude and accomplishment.

I want to say thank you, Corona!  One day, the year 2020, will be a chapter in the history book. We will be the heroes who were able to afford all the difficulties through solidarity, love and joy of life.

It will be a motivational story to tell future generations.

Covid-19 is challenging us as a country and as individuals in ways we have never imagined. Only by respecting the provisions and decisions taken by the government will we be able to write a better future. Our future will be determined by what we do today.

Staying positive, determined, courageous, hopeful and always imagining the best could help beat this virus.

With support, sharing and solidarity, we will come out stronger and more united. Let’s put all our differences aside and think as one. This crisis will be over soon and we will resume our busy daily lives. We will put the lessons we learned from the coronavirus into action.Let us thank and especially encourage our everyday heroes who are in the front line of this fight against the virus: nurses, doctors, police and suppliers. And we cannot forget the people who helped by creating masks, supporting students in school and volunteers who took on many important tasks.

Let’s take care of ourselves. Let’s take care of our loved ones. Let’s take care of the world.

Eya Labidi is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Bahrain.

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