Supreme Committee for Crisis Management reviews latest developments on COVID-19
The Spokesperson of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management, HE Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater has reviewed latest developments linked to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). This came within the regular press conference held by the Committee on Monday.
Partial opening of closed part in Industrial Area The spokesperson HE Al Khater said that the gradual opening of the closed part of Industrial Area will begin April 22, starting from Streets 1 and 2, along with Al Wakalat Street.
Preparation is underway to open the remaining part of the area, as per patient-generated health data and the general interest, she added.
Around 6,500 workers were shifted in preparation to the partial opening of the closed part. They were shifted to precautionary quarantine facilities to screen for early detection- despite showing no symptoms of the infection- for their and others’ safety in the area.
She stressed that food and medical supplies are constantly flowing, while high-quality healthcare is also provided to the residents of the closed area.
Intensify patrols and inspection campaigns HE Al Khater also stressed that the relevant authorities will continue to intensify patrols and inspection campaigns. Law flouters will be arrested. This includes the law on preventing gatherings and applying safety conditions in food establishments and social distancing in commercial stores.
Apex of COVID-19 The spokesperson noted that “we have entered the peak phase of the virus”, adding that the majority’s adherence to the preventive measures during the past period was appreciated and demonstrated a high sense of responsibility.
She stressed the need to continue implementing these measures, the most important of which is to avoid leaving the house except for necessities, wearing masks, washing and sanitizing hands, and observing social distancing, especially as we are heading towards the Holy month of Ramadan.
Avoiding social visits during Ramadan In this context, HE Al Khater said, “The Holy Month of Ramadan in the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic will have other ramifications which we must feel and be inspired by in our daily life. As we all know, fasting is not only about abstaining from food and drink [from sunrise to sunset], but is also about avoiding harm. And this is embodied in remaining in homes and applying safeguards to protect ourselves and others from harm.”
She added that this “Holy month is the month of charity, and that giving charity to our relatives is not by visiting them and, therefore, exposing them to the risk of infection. Our relatives have seniors and patients with blood pressure, diabetes and heart [related- diseases]. Giving charity to them is by avoiding social visits at these times.”
HE Al Khater stressed that “this pandemic may remind us that God’s ability is above all’s ability, and that we must from now on pay attention to what adds to ourselves, our societies and our countries”. She said people should “seize the coincidence” of having the month of Ramadan at the same time as this pandemic “to rearrange our priorities and focus on what is beneficial and constructive”.
“We call upon all and urge to avoid family gatherings during Ramadan,” HE Al Khater said.
Briefing on increase in infections HE Al Khater has also reviewed data related to the numbers of infections, recoveries and deaths in the State of Qatar, assuring everyone about the safe approach adapted by the State in dealing with the pandemic.
She explained that the recent increase in the number of infections is linked to several factors that include: the increase in the number of tests conducted on people, along with the adoption of a proactive screening approach to discovering transmission chains. She stressed that these are healthy indicators in the first place.
HE Al Khater noted that the number of infections among Qataris has become relatively stable after the increase in two consecutive days in late March. She added that many of the discovered cases were mainly related to people within the same family and to family visits. She urged to avoid gatherings, mixing and family visits during this period, especially during Ramadan.
HE Al Khater confirmed that the indicators suggest that the State of Qatar is successfully managing the crisis, this is “reflected in all the indicators related to the virus.”
Reviewing data on infections, recovering and deaths She explained that the percentage of detected infections in quarantine is currently (74%), while (26%) of the cases relates to societal infections. This indicated that the healthcare system in the State is successful in containing the virus and limiting its spread, she said, lauding the pre-emptive plans of the Ministry of Public Health in this regard.
She also indicated that the number of infections did not witness a major change, as (90%) of the cases are light and only (1%) classified as dangerous, while the recovery rate so far is (9%).
She added that the number of deaths reached only 9 cases among the total cases discovered, “a rate that is among the lowest in the world and the lowest at the level of countries in the region.”
She said that the number of cases in intensive care reached (72) cases, while the number of cases that left intensive care reached (52) cases.
She also indicated that the percentage of cases among males in general is (89%) and (11%) among females. The percentage among Qatari males was (66.47%) and among Qatari women (33.53%), and among expatriate males is (89.9%) and the rest is among females.
The figures presented by HE Al Khater indicate that 36 percent of cases aged 25-34 years, 29 percent aged 35-44 years, 14 percent aged 45 to 54 years, and 11 percent aged 15 to 24 years. Five percent aged 55 and 64 years, and 2 percent only over the age of 64 years, the same percentage for those between 5 and 14 years, and only 1 percent between the ages of 0 and 4 years.
Regarding recovery cases, she said that the ratio among males reached 80 percent and 20 percent for females, “given that the percentage of cases in males is the highest.”
Cautioning against wrong interpretation of data HE Al Khater stressed the importance of reading the data correctly and the significance of using a scientific method to understand that, so that the results are correct. She warned that unscientific interaction with the data inevitably leads to inaccurate results that might cause concern to society.
Increase in infections is natural indicator She said, “The increase in the number of cases is a natural indicator of the ability of the health system to manage the crisis and contain cases as quickly as possible.” She added, “One of the important indicators is the ability of the health system to deal with cases, as is the case in Qatar, while experiences in many developed countries showed that they could not cope with the cases and contain the virus.”
Efficient healthcare system She emphasized that the health system in the State of Qatar is able to absorb the cases “and there is an abundance and scope to deal with the increase, which is an important indicator, and does not cause any concern at all.” She noted that “concerns rise when the health system could not respond to the needs of patients, regardless of the type of disease.”
She stressed that the most important issue in the face of the coronavirus (Covid-19) is people adherence to measures, warning that complacency may prolong the crisis.
Tracing transmission chains She reiterated that the increase in the number of cases in recent times is an indication of the efficiency of tracing transmission chains. She said that the Ministry of Public Health does not conduct tests randomly, but through a dedicated team for search, which is the effective factor in curbing the virus spread.
She added, “Some countries in the world do not conduct proactive checks, but rather discover cases when patients go to hospitals after symptoms appear.” This means that there are cases that have not been discovered yet. She stressed that conducting accurate proactive checks is important to discover cases early and not leave it until symptoms appear on patients.
Qatar first among pioneering countries HE Al Khater said that the State of Qatar is among the highest countries in the number of conducted tests in relation to the population. Qatar is in pioneer countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
She assured that the frequency of conducted tests will continue, calling for avoiding inaccurate calculations and misreading the indicators and numbers of conducted tests. She said, “There is a scientific approach for conducting checks in the State of Qatar, which is similar to what is going on in pioneer countries in this regard.”