Qatar succeeds in reducing impact of COVID-19 by 75%
Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal said that Qatar has succeeded in flattening the curve and reducing the impact of the virus by 75 percent thanks to the preventive efforts and measures, and the awareness and cooperation of the community.
“We are three months into our COVID-19 outbreak in Qatar. Latest data on new cases and hospital admissions shows a levelling off and the coming week or two will confirm if this will continue to be the trend,” said Dr. Al Khal. “We are now regularly seeing more daily recoveries - this is in part due to the new 14 day discharge criteria because evidence shows that people with mild symptoms are not infectious after 10 to 14 days of infection.”
He said that Qatar is witnessing an increase in the number of deaths but Qatar continues to have one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the world thanks to the measures put in place. “Ensuring people with COVID are treated early is important to prevent their conditions worsening. For this reason it is important that people with symptoms present early for testing. As we move towards a new normal where we have to live with the virus it is very important that people continue to follow preventive measures,” said Dr. Al Khal.
He said that resuming business and other activities should be done gradually and in a prudent manner; with strict observation of social distancing, wearing masks and maintaining hand hygiene to avoid the resurgence of the virus. “Following lifting of the restrictions it is important for people not to leave their houses unless it is absolutely necessary. This is particularly true for those who are 60 years and older and those with chronic conditions,” said Dr. Al Khal.
He said that Ehteraz app will help with the gradual lifting of the restriction as it adds another layer of protection for the community as a towards whole and it is a good example how technology is proving to be valuable in combating the virus and facilitating return normal life. Dr. Al Khal said that there is some stability in the number of daily infected cases, and things will be clear in the next two weeks. “
The number of cases that need to enter the hospital also decreased, in addition to the number of cases that enter intensive care, where it exceeded 20 cases per day during the past days and began to decrease recently,” Dr. Al Khal said. He further said: “These indicators are somewhat good, and this indicates that the procedures that were used were helpful and.
About 90 percent of youth infected are recovering without treatment but there are some cases that have been entered to intensive care,” he said. “We began the see the fruits of the precautionary measures that have been taken by authorities concerned, but if caution is reduced the spread will increase again,” he added.
Regarding the new policy towards people who recovered from the virus, he emphasised: “New recovery standards that allow the patient to be discharged after 14 days due to evidence that people with mild symptoms will not transfer infection after 10 to 14 days of their infection, because the virus is dead.
As for cases which still have symptoms, this does not apply to them.” Regarding the reason behind the increase of cases in the last weeks, he noted the reason for the increase in cases is the lack of adherence to the precautionary measures especially in Ramadan, which increased the numbers.
During this period it increased more among Qataris, and the reason is the mutual visits between people and families. It is noticed that the spread of the virus is more among low educated workers such as cleaning and construction workers compared to others, Al Khal said.