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Coronavirus: Bahrain to pay private sector salaries for three months

The decision will cost the government 215 million Bahraini dinars ($570m) until June
The pink supermoon rises next to Bahrain World Trade Centre in Manama, Bahrain 7 April 2020 (Reuters)

The Bahraini government said on Wednesday it would pay the salaries of 100,000 registered private sector employees for three months starting in April to mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus on the economy.

The decision will cost the government 215 million Bahraini dinars ($570m) until June. 

According to a statement by the labour ministry, owners of private sector enterprises will now be able to sign up for the government’s service, via its online portal, to cover the costs of salaries for the months of April, May and June 2020. 

The electronic service will enable company owners to register bank account details through their account with the social insurance agency. 

The move, according to the ministry, comes as part of efforts by the Gulf kingdom to “mitigate the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and to maintain the growth of the private sector and enhance its vital role in supporting the wheel of the national economy”.

Electricity and water bills

The government also said it would pay electricity and water bills for all Bahraini citizens and businesses, and will extend some tax breaks on properties and tourism. 

The initiatives are part of an $11bn stimulus package announced by the government for the private sector to alleviate the economic costs of the virus outbreak. 

The Bahraini Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday that although the total number of Covid-19 cases had reached 349, only four of them are in critical condition. 

The ministry announced the death of the first patient on Tuesday, a 70-year-old Bahraini national with underlying health conditions. 

The government has conducted more than 50,127 tests, and 458 people have left quarantine after testing negative for the virus. 

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has ordered the government to cover all expenses of treating Covid-19 patients in the country, for both citizens and residents.