Bahrain Country Report
By regional standards, Bahrain offers a relatively streamlined regulatory framework, while also allowing 100% foreign ownership in most sectors. Government tendering processes are relatively opaque and likely to offer preferential treatment to state monopolies and royal family-linked business interests. Organised labour strikes are uncommon and rarely become disruptive.
An apparent increase in Iranian material support for Bahraini militants, if confirmed, is likely intended to deter Saudi regional escalation, rather than an indication of impending escalation in the currently low-level insurgency. Crude IED attacks will overwhelmingly remain restricted to areas outside of central Manama. Targeting the majority Shia population is consistent with the Islamic State's ideology and primary target set. An August 2018 recording by the group's caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, urged the population of Bahrain to overthrow its government. The Islamic State's occasional reference to Bahrain's population still shows its intent to radicalise the population and turn it against a monarchy it sees as illegitimate.
The main risk to Bahrain emanates from the elevated but growing risk of an Iran-US/Saudi Arabia war, which would pose a severe risk of damage to Bahraini strategic infrastructure from Iranian retaliatory kinetic actions. The US Fifth Fleet in Manama would be a target in such a scenario. There is an elevated risk of minor naval incidents surrounding allegations of Iranian attempts to smuggle weapons to supply Shia militants in Bahrain and undermine the Saudi-backed Al-Khalifa monarchy. Although Iranian media and politicians will likely periodically state territorial claims to Bahrain, this is unlikely to move beyond rhetoric.
Opposition groups carry out a variety of activities against the government on a near daily basis. Such activities are likely in Shia districts such as Jidhafs, Karbabad, and Sanabis. These include incendiary attacks on police stations and patrols, roadblocks using burning debris that are usually cleared within several hours, and crude IED attacks at entertainment venues and other soft targets frequented by foreigners. There have been fewer incidents in areas around Palace Avenue in al-Hoora because of the heavy security presence. Bahrain International Airport operations are very unlikely to be disrupted by protests.
Vaccines Required to Enter the Country
Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Bahrain. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.
Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
In terms of weather-related concerns, sand and dust storms, as well as periodic drought, are not uncommon.
During the summer (April to October) temperatures can rise to 50°C with humidity.
In November 2015 the country was hit by flash floods that led to substantial material damage.
Located off the Dammam coast of Saudi Arabia, the island of Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia by a 24 km (15 mi) bridge.
Bahrain's road network is well developed.
Vehicles are driven on the right side of roadways. Only Bahraini and international driving licenses are accepted. The country has strict drunk driving laws. With a "zero tolerance" policy, Bahraini authorities can arrest drivers or levy a fine of more than USD 1067 (EUR 1000) if caught drinking and driving.
Public transportation and taxis are usually safe and reliable. However, some sexual harassment cases have been reported. Uber ridesharing is also well established in the country.
The Bahrain international airport is located 7 km (4 mi) away from Manama and connects Bahrain to many countries. It is considered a hub for the airline company Gulf Air. In January 2016, Bahrain banned flights to and from Iran.
Foggy conditions and sandstorms commonly occur and can disrupt traffic. Bahrain also experiences heavy rains that can lead to flooding.
The government has imposed a curfew in its territorial waters from 18:00 until 04:00 (local time).
Bahrain is very hot (38°C) and humid from April until October. Sandstorms can strike during the summer months. From November until the end of April, temperatures are mild (18°C in January) but nights are cool. Rain can fall between December and March, sometimes accompanied by strong winds.
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