Easing of restrictions does not mean negligence in following COVID-19 preventive measures: health official
With Qatar all set to ease COVID-19 restrictions starting tomorrow, a senior health official has stressed the importance of continuing to adhere to preventive measures.
In an interview on Qatar Television yesterday, Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Dr Abdullatif Al Khal said the country will implement the first phase of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions as initially planned.
The implementation of this phase is based on positive indicators reflected in the decrease in daily COVID-19 cases amongst the community.
"Though we were worried about a rise in infections after the Eid holidays, these were considerably low due to the high level of awareness among the people and the progress of the national vaccination program,” Dr Al Khal noted.
He further emphasized that even though the country will see the easing of restrictions, it does not mean there should be negligence in complying with COVID-19 preventive and precautionary measures as the virus is still present and spreading in different countries.
"Vaccination and the precautionary measures complement each other and people should continue to follow the measures to continue curbing the spread of the disease,” Dr Al Khal said.
He drew attention to the new COVID-19 strains, highlighting that these are more infectious and spread faster. The measures against COVID-19 are in place for people to safeguard themselves and the society as a whole, particularly those who are not vaccinated yet.
“As more and more people get the vaccine, more privileges will be given to them," he added.
Dr Al Khal also mentioned that more than one million people in Qatar have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 60 percent of the eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Regarding the effectiveness of the vaccines being used in the country, the health official said so far they have proven effective against the new strains.
For people planning to travel abroad, Dr Al Khal advised getting vaccinated together with their family members and follow all requirements of the countries they visit.
"They should also check conditions in the destination country and make sure that the country has good and effective healthcare infrastructure and facilities, in particular for the elderly and those with chronic diseases. Also, people should avoid travel to high-risk countries," Dr Al Khal said.
In terms of the two vaccines being used in Qatar, Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna, he said they are both highly safe and effective with no considerable differences.
"Studies indicate that vaccination is very safe during pregnancy, and there is no increase in symptoms after taking the vaccine, whether a woman is pregnant or not. Those with hypersensitivity should make sure that they take the vaccine at hospitals during working hours to receive the due care in case of any potential consequences,” he mentioned.
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