WATCH: Qatar is in the middle of the second wave, most of the recent COVID-19 cases are due to social visits: MoPH

WATCH: Qatar is in the middle of the second wave, most of the recent COVID-19 cases are due to social visits: MoPH

By QLNews

The South African strain had a significant impact on the rise in COVID-19 cases in Qatar during the past 10 days, said Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) during the press conference held tonight.

With Qatar experiencing a spike in the number of daily COVID-19 cases as well as hospital admissions, earlier today, the Cabinet has decided to reintroduce stricter COVID-19 measures, including capacity restrictions and closures of some public venues such as museums, libraries, and nurseries.

Key points by Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal:

 

- During the past two weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases and we have recorded more than 900 new cases each day in the past few days.

 - Of particular concern is the high number of people in intensive care. This figure is now significantly higher than at the peak of the first wave last year.

 - Despite our strict quarantine policy that is in place for all travelers, the South Africa variant has now made its way into the community - meaning we have both the UK and South Africa variants circulating.

 - Both these new strains cause more severe symptoms than the original strain and we believe the South Africa variant has had a significant impact on the rise in COVID-19 cases in the past ten days.

 - Despite the rise in people requiring admission to hospitals, the healthcare system has sufficient capacity to ensure everyone who needs medical care can receive it without delay.

 - While managing to keep the virus under control throughout the last quarter of 2020, Qatar maintained a set of strict policies aimed at preventing a second wave.

 - We continued to keep in place measures to prevent the virus from spreading - this included quarantine for travelers, mask-wearing, social distancing, limits on gatherings, temperature, and Ehteraz checks in all public buildings and blended learning in schools.

 - Despite these ongoing efforts to prevent a second wave, Qatar, like many countries in the region and around the world, has not been able to prevent a second wave.

- At the start of the year as we saw the number of new daily cases begin to rise steadily, we acted quickly to introduce further restrictions at the start of February. These restrictions proved effective at suppressing the spread of the virus and for many weeks the number of new daily infections remained steady.

- However, the introduction of the UK variant into the community in march saw further increases in cases and, notably hospitalizations and we responded with further restrictions.

- The latest development in the pandemic of the circulation of the South African variant has meant we are once again moving quickly to further increase the restrictions.

- I know that today's announcement of the new restrictions, just one week before the start if the holy month of Ramadan, will be difficult for many people.

- With these new restrictions in place for at least the next two weeks, the start of Ramadan will be impacted. But as always, as individuals and as a community, we have the will and the power to suppress the spread of the virus like we did the first time.

- If we fail to all play our part in following the restrictions and preventive measures, and cases continue to rise, we may need to escalate the restrictions further.

- However, if each and every one of us takes responsibility and acts appropriately over the next two to four weeks, we can begin to see a decline in cases, and we can consider easing some of the restrictions.

--

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Source: MoPH
Cover Image Credit: The Peninsula
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