The economy in Bahrain is starting to show signs of improvement as the country eases coronavirus restrictions, with imports, hotel occupancy and real estate transactions picking up recently.

The value of imports to the kingdom, which had been on a decline since the onset of the pandemic, increased by 88.1 percent in August compared to July 2020, the country’s Ministry of Finance and National Economy said in a report released early Monday.

Exporting truck traffic on the King Fahd Causeway also went up by 21.5 percent, while the operators of four and five-star hotels saw a 13.3 percent jump in occupancy during the same period.

As for real estate transactions, the Survey and Land Registration Bureau reported a 21.6 percent increase in transactions.

Easing of restrictions

All these positive indicators are a result of the kingdom’s efforts to gradually resume and re-open various economic industries and activities. Starting from May, the country eased out of its COVID-19 lockdown in a bid to revive the economy.

“The decision to gradually resume and re-open various economic sectors and activities, starting from last May, has had a positive impact on a number of key economic indicators, resulting in improvement across a number of sectors during the third quarter of 2020,” the ministry said in a statement.

The country’s performance indicators declined by 8.9 percent during the second quarter of the year compared to a year earlier as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministry also stressed that the economic stimulus package, launched to support residents and businesses in the kingdom, has also contributed to “supporting economic diversification and sustainable growth” during the pandemic.

Bahrain was among the first states in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region to implement restrictions to stem the spread of coronavirus last March.

In early April, it announced the reopening of shopping malls while maintaining strict precautionary measures, such as social distancing and wearing face masks in public. Recently, it announced the resumption of international flights, including the lifting of the 10-day quarantine for arriving passengers.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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