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Qatar has flattened the curve on COVID-19 says Health Minister

Doha: Asserting that Qatar has flattened the curve on COVID-19, H E Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, and Minister of Public Health said yesterday and that the country has put a unique system in place to fight the pandemic.

“We have flattened the curve. We are not peaking that aggressively that means we have flattened the curve,” said the Minister in an interview with Al Jazeera English.

“And the country will soon see the end of the peak. Qatar is implementing the WHO practices to beat the virus spreading.

The Minister said that, the public has been “fantastic in following the regulations” by – following the social distancing, masking and other steps announced by the authorities.

“By putting social distancing measures we have flattened the curve. We continue to monitor. We measure attack rate in the population we have tested. The re-production rate of OCVID-19 has dropped significantly,” she said.  

The Minister also emphasized that the recovery rate of COVID-19 is high in the country, and Qatar has the lowest fatality rate, with only 12 deaths have been reported so far.

According to Dr Al Kuwari, Qatar is following the mathematical model to understand the capacity and make required preparations.

“Qatar has put a unique system in place to fight Covid-19. Those who come from countries which experience a COVID-19 outbreak and persons who contacted them or with those with the disease are asked to undergo quarantine at government facilities or at homes,” she said.

“Persons with high risk are referred to government facilities. Those with low risk are asked to be quarantined at home. Qatar has implemented a legal decree to deal with quarantine violators,” she added.

Speaking about Qatar’s mechanism to tract and test people for OCVID-19, Dr Al Kuwari said, “Qatar has set up an army of health workers to trace and track the cases.”

“We started with 20 health workers, the team has now 300 health workers and volunteers. The team plays a key role in fighting Covid-19. Also we hope the Ehteraz application will help general public identify whether they had contact with infected persons. Public can contact the hotline if they found themselves having contact with infected persons,” she said.

The Minister also said that the high number of COVID-19 cases in the country is the result of intensive testing measures.

“More than 40,000 people per million have been tested so far. Infection rates are not high. Some 93% of the cases are mild and only 1 % are in ICU,” she said.  

She also said that five hospitals have been dedicated to treat COVID-19 patients, with 700 ICU beds hospitals are well equipped and fully staffed.  

“When we see signs of deterioration, we start with all medicines and still if the signs deteriorate then the patient is moved to ICU and we have a strong team in the ICU,” said the Minister.

The Minister emphasized that adequate safety measures will be taken when a decision is taken to ease travel restrictions and return to daily business  

“Definitely there will be easing of the restrictions, but it is difficult to say when and how it will look like.  Our priority as country is the safety. Mandatory quarantine will be introduced if flight traveling is resumed.  We will not open unless it is safe to do that. We will keep the highest risk sector to open last. If we open too quickly there might be a second attack and we don’t want that,” said Dr Hanan.

In answer to a question regarding the lockdown of Industrial Area, the Minister said it was important to ensure the health and safety of people and businesses of the area.

“There was a cluster in Industrial Area and as it was important area we took many health measure in the area.  Industrial Area is given proper attention. All the needs of workers are met. Mobile clinics, field hospital and treatment facilities have been set up. Restrictions are only for people with infection while a section of workers are engaged in working,” she said. The Minister also said that, COVID-19 has created an opportunity for local market where masks and ventilators are produced.

Source: Peninsula Qatar


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