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Bahrain school closures 'unjustified'

The reasons for the Health Ministry of Bahrain’s decision to close all of the emirate’s schools as a have not been fully explained, says one commentator.

Writing in the Gulf Daily News, journalist Les Horton suggested the ministry’s reasoning "sounds like justification after the fact".

According to the World Health Organization, closing schools during a swine flu outbreak can be an effective preventative measure if done when the rate of infection is below one per cent.

In such circumstances, closures can reduce the demand for healthcare by around 30 to 50 per cent at the pandemic’s peak, it added.

However, Mr Horton argued that the country’s health and education officials lack any accurate infection rate figures as Bahrain had stopped widespread testing for swine flu in early September.

He described health authorities’ claims that the virus’ spread had been stemmed as "suspect", given the amount of time since testing had ceased.

The only school to remain open, claims Gulf Weekly, is the US Department of Defence Education Activity School.

Populated largely by expatriate pupils, the school is not required to adhere to the same government guidelines as other institutions, reports the newspaper.

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