Bahrain relaxes COVID-19 measures as new cases ease

DUBAI, March 14 (Reuters) - Bahrain eased some of its coronavirus restrictions on Sunday, including allowing eating inside restaurants and re-opening educational institutions to students, as case numbers fall.

Restaurants and cafes, which had been limited to take-away meals since late January, can open with no more than 30 customers at one time, the ministry of health said.

Swimming pools and sports facilities can re-open on Sunday, but social gatherings of more than 30 people in homes and private venues are still prohibited.

Ministry officials urged residents to get a vaccine and to continue to adhere to measures such as social distancing and washing hands.

Daily case numbers have fallen from a mid-February peak of 896 following a steady rise since December. The country, which offers residents and citizens four types of vaccine, registered 579 new cases on Sunday.

Daily cases in Gulf neighbour the United Arab Emirates, which has one of the world’s fastest vaccination rates, have also fallen from a peak of 3,977 in early February, reporting 1,992 cases on Sunday.

Private hospitals in the UAE can resume elective surgeries, cosmetic and physiotherapy treatments that had previously been suspended, newspaper Khaleej Times reported on Saturday, citing a health ministry circular. (Writing by Lisa Barrington Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)