WATCH: Schools have taken all precautionary measures to ensure safety of the children; says Dr. Al Khal
During the press conference on August 31, 2020, Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) said Qatar has significantly succeeded in tackling COVID-19 and limiting the spread of the virus.
This success is due to the measures and decisions are taken by the state in this regard, in addition to the cooperation of community members.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal updated the following:
- The measures put in place have succeeded in lowering the number of new daily cases over the past few months.
- It is noticeably clear that people who follow the preventive measures such as wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, and regular hand washing have a very low risk of catching the virus.
- A high number of positive cases are among Qatari nationals and expat professionals which is due to a minority of people within these days who ignore preventive measures- putting themselves and those around them at risk.
- There were some incidences of large-scale family gatherings and celebrations with more than 100 people.
- These mass gatherings put many people at risk and risk undermining all the efforts that have been done to combat the virus to date.
- The phased approach to lifting restrictions has worked very well and while there were small clusters of cases because of people not adhering to the preventive measures, Qatar has not seen signs of a second wave yet.
- Malls, workplaces, mosques, and other public places are open, people can visit these locations safely- supported by Ehteraz app and the preventive measures. There is no significant spike in the total number of cases.
- The start of Phase 4 will again open new facilities and offer people more freedom, but it is important to remember that the further lifting of restrictions does not mean that the virus has disappeared and the threat to our health has gone.
- COVID-19 is still a very real threat and we must not become complacent.
- The blended approach enabling children to return to school has been carefully planned with all the relevant authorities and all measures are being put in place by schools to ensure the safety of children and reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.
- While children are not immune from catching COVID-19, they are extremely unlikely to experience severe symptoms of the virus and their safety is always our priority.
- With a maximum of 30% of children in school each day, in addition to supporting preventive measures, Qatar is confident that everything is in place to enable children to safely return to schools.
- The MoPH intends to conduct random checks on all students in the coming days and weeks.
In addition, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nuaimi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education said during the Q&A session that absences during the first two weeks in schools will not be counted. There was no new case of infection among students in the second-round exams which ended on August 31, 2020.
Moreover, there is a great readiness for public and private schools to receive students and take all necessary precautions.