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Rise in COVID-19 infection rate stabilised, but still in peak stage: Dr Khal


Tribune News Network

Doha


The rising rate of COVID-19 infection in Qatar stabilized three days ago, but is still in its peak stage, Dr Abdullatif al Khal, co-chair of the National Pandemic Preparedness Committee, said in a press conference held in Doha on Wednesday.


“We are in the peak stage and we will continue to record cases of infection between 1000 and 1600 every day. It is difficult to predict the end of this period because it depends on the commitment of people to social distancing,” Dr Khal said.


More than 30,000 patients are under treatment for the virus infection in Qatar 80 days after the first case was reported in the country, he said. According to the Ministry of Public Health latest COVID-19 roundup, 37,097 people have tested positive for the disease so far. Of them, 6,600 people have recovered, while 16 died.


Dr Khal said there has been a recent spike in infection among Qataris and residents (outside the workers' category) due to “gatherings during Ramadan and lack of commitment to adhere to preventive measures”.


He called on the public to refrain from visiting families and attending Iftar gatherings. “There have many infections because of these customs… This holiday comes at the height of the spread of coronavirus in Qatar and the world. We should not visit relative in person and should exchange greetings through phone calls and messages,” Dr Khal said.


Reiterating the importance of Qatar’s COVID-19 contact tracing app Ehteraz, Dr Khal said the app many advantages in helping to limit the spread of the virus in Qatar.


The application will let you know if you have come in contact with an infected person, without his or her knowledge, Dr Khal said.


According to Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Thani, the Director of Public Health Department at MoPH, doctors are signatories to the confidentiality of data collected through the Ehteraz app


Qatar’s Cabinet has made it mandatory of all residents and citizens to have the app installed in their smartphones from May 22. Along with this decision, the Cabinet has also put curbs on the number of people who can travel in vehicles together— two in self-driven personal vehicles, three in taxis and cars driven by “family driver” and half the seating capacity in buses and vans.


Dr Khal reminded that the risk of infection was higher in a car than at home.

Dr. Muna Al Maslamani is the Medical Director of Communicable Disease Center, said 94 percent of people with COVID-19 show mild or no symptoms. While 5 percent need hospitalization, only 1 percent need access to the intensive care unit, she added.


Around 74 patients in ICU need ventilators and 11 need oxygen support, Dr Maslamani said, adding that 100 patients received blood plasma from 96 recovered patients.

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