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A round of applause

April 1 - 7 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

Gulf Weekly A round of applause

Tomorrow at 8pm, residents and citizens of Bahrain will be coming together virtually from the safety of their homes for the ‘Clap for Bahrain Carers’ community initiative to give a raucous round of applause to all doctors, nurses and medical staff working on the frontlines of the kingdom’s fight against Covid-19.

The idea was conceptualised last Thursday when 11-year-old Saoirse Lynch and her mother Hannah Turner stood in the balcony of their Umm Al Hassam flat, clapping in solidarity with their friends and family overseas. Millions across the UK and Ireland were part of national initiative to honour the National Health Service (NHS) workers who have been fighting to contain the crisis in the country.

Saoirse, who studies at St. Christopher’s, told GulfWeekly: “It was amazing to be able to appreciate all the hard work that NHS has been doing, in solidarity with our family in the UK and Ireland. It got me thinking about my own experience. Myself and 39 other classmates were in Italy incidentally in the red zone with five of our teachers on a school skiing trip when the crisis really started affecting everything.

“Flights were cancelled and the school made the decision to cut the trip short by two days. Our flight had to be re-routed through Istanbul and we landed in Bahrain on February 27. We were amongst the first few batches of passengers to be tested at Bahrain International Airport, so it took over seven hours for us to go through passport control, screening and testing.

“My best friend, Emily (O’Shea) was also tested and I remember the staff at the airport being very kind and helpful throughout. My mum and I wanted to appreciate all their hard work and let them know that we are grateful for all that they, and all the medical workers in the kingdom, do and risk every day.”

Saoirse and Hannah, who have essentially been self-isolating since Saoirse returned and tested negative for Covid-19 along with Emily, called up their friend Hana Ali for further support. Hana designed the poster for the event. The thankful trio have been working hard over the weekend to spread the word about the initiative.

The initiative has flourished on social media, with Arabic, Tagalog and Malayalam translations of the event now circulating on WhatsApp and Instagram.

Clap for Bahrain Carers encourages everyone to stay at home and make some noise from their gardens or balconies or social media, recognising the kingdom’s medical workers, who, as of Monday night, had tested more than 31,526 people for the virus and cared for nearly 500 diagnosed with the disease.

Hannah added: “In addition to the appreciation, we also want medical workers to know that they can trust us to follow their advice and stay home until this crisis is over.”

People can become part of the initiative by clapping tomorrow evening at 8pm from home, record themselves, follow and tag @ClapForBahrainCarers on Instagram and join the Facebook event, where they can also post photos and videos, to express appreciation the kingdom’s medical workers.

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