More people in ICU now than during peak of first COVID-19 wave: official
In recent weeks, Qatar has witnessed an escalation in the number of daily COVID-19 cases.
At a Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) press conference held on March 24, 2021, officials highlighted that the COVID-19 situation has become worse with the country currently experiencing the second wave.
Despite Qatar’s efforts to block the entry of the new variants, the country is now seeing many cases of the new UK variant.
According to officials, the new variant has been a significant factor in the increased number of intensive care unit admissions at HMC in recent weeks.
Officials have pointed out that there are more people in ICUs now than during the peak of the first COVID-19 wave in May last year.
Acting chairman of HMC's Intensive Care Units, Dr Ahmed Mohamed, said, "Since the middle of March, the number of people receiving life-saving medical treatment in our intensive care units has more than doubled and we now have more than 280 people with COVID-19 in intensive care."
"To put this into perspective, at the peak of the first wave in May 2020, we had around 220 patients in intensive care. It is clear that people are becoming sicker and experiencing more severe symptoms in this second wave of the virus," the official underlined.
The new UK variant does not cause different symptoms in infected people, but it is highly transmissible and has the potential to increase the rate of the virus spread.
"But perhaps more worrying is that clinical evidence appears to now show that the UK variant can cause more severe illness," Dr Mohamed mentioned.
"People infected with the UK variant are more likely to get very sick, require hospitalization, admission to intensive care and, sadly, have more chance of dying due to serious complications from the virus," he added.
Director of Public Health at the MoPH, Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad Al Thani, said that as greater numbers of vaccines are now available in the country, the pace of the vaccination program has advanced significantly.
"The most important step that everyone can take to protect themselves from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated as soon as they become eligible for the priority groups and are offered an appointment," the official stressed.
"The other way in which people can protect themselves is to follow all the Covid-19 precautionary measures: wear a mask, wash your hands regularly, avoid large gatherings and maintain physical distancing," he added.
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