In a press conference held tonight by the Ministry of Public Health, the latest updates and statistics regarding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Qatar were discussed. Reiterating the new precautionary measures by the Cabinet, Qatar citizens and residents are also urged to stay at home during the coming Eid Al Fitr.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, and Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, Communicable Disease Center Medical Director, chaired the press conference.
The following updates were announced:
Throughout this month, the number of new cases has gradually risen and we are entering the peak stage of COVID-19 in Qatar.
We are still in the peak of the epidemic of COVID 19 in Qatar and the cases will continue to increase before they eventually drop. The epidemic is on the rise until it has stabilized in the last 3 day
The rate of infections between Qataris and residents increased due to the lack of commitment of many members of society to the preventive measures and gatherings for Iftaar.
The group most vulnerable to infection from 45 years of age and over, which is worrisome.
Most of the injuries are in the age group of 25 to 34 years, and they constitute 35% of the infections.
It is encouraging that the number of patients making a full recovery from the virus is also increasing each day and this week the total number of recovered cases passed 6,000.
The number of cases discovered daily exceeds 1000 cases and that the number of infections that are still subject to treatment in different hospitals and isolation centers amounted to more than 30,000 cases so far, but in the same time with the high number of people recovering from the disease, as they have reached 6600 cases until today.
So far, more than 170,000 people have been tested for the virus since the outbreak of the epidemic in the State of Qatar, while yesterday, 8,000 tests were conducted for 4,200 people.
The number of daily recoveries is increasing in part due to new international guidelines on the timeframe for when patients are no longer contagious, meaning they can be safely discharged sooner.
While the majority of patients with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, we are seeing an increase in the number of patients with more severe symptoms.
Throughout the past week, an average of 20 COVID-19 patients has been admitted to Intensive Care Units every day as a result of serious complications.
The number of people who entered intensive care has reached 555 since the beginning of the Corona pandemic. The most intensive care group is between 45 and 54 years old.
Thanks to the efforts of health workers in the State of Qatar, we managed to limit the spread of the epidemic and the deaths resulting from this epidemic.
Celebrate Eid Al Fitr at home
Eid is traditionally a time of year when we socialize and celebrate with family and friends but this year must be different.
It is really important that you stay at home and only go out when it is absolutely necessary and that you follow social and physical distancing measures.
"Eid this year will be different from previous holidays and comes at the height of the corona pandemic in Qatar and the world. Therefore, the commitment must be made not to visit and stay at home and exchange congratulations on the occasion of the holiday through a phone call, as visiting people will lead to the spread of the virus more than the current situation, and infections that need to enter intensive care may increase. "
We are seeing many examples where the virus is spreading rapidly among members of the same family, including examples where they do not share a household due to families visiting each other and socializing during Ramadan.
We all have a role to play in successfully overcoming the pandemic - we ask the public to work with the healthcare sector and play their part.
Latest precautionary measures announced by the Cabinet
All these decisions are important and come at an appropriate time with the end of Ramadan and before Eid Al Fitr.
"Everyone's commitment to downloading EHTERAZ application has an important role in helping community members who are not infected with the virus or not exposed to it until they know if they have been exposed to one of the infected without their knowledge, as the application alerts them of that which they can early to go to one of the Health centers and then conduct checkup, to make sure they are infected or not. "
These steps are protection for the person who was exposed to another infected person, and the application also comes to protect the family members of the person because he may have been infected with the virus while he does not know, and he may pass it on to his parents or the rest of his family, which may cause the spread of the virus.
The EHTERAZ application has other advantages and will have importance in the coming stage in helping to limit the spread of the virus in the State of Qatar.
Many countries of the world had launched similar applications where they have proven effective in limiting the spread of the epidemic in society, expressing his hope that this application would help in terms of health in controlling the pandemic and limiting its spread.
On the decision not to have more than two people in one car, he stressed that this is very important to prevent the transmission of the virus because the car is a closed and narrow place and if there is an infected person, he can transmit the virus to people in the car, so the number of people in one car should be reduced with the necessity of wearing surgical mask.
With regard to exercising in places close to home with the need to wear a mask, he explained that it was observed recently that a large number of people practice sports outside the home, which is a healthy lifestyle, but this should be in accordance with precautionary measures that avoid transmitting the virus.
He also talked about the advantages of the decision to close commercial stores from May 19 to May 30, and he said that it is an important decision and contributes to limiting visits to these stores before Eid and during Eid, and thus greatly prevents the spread of the virus.
Peak phase of the pandemic
Dr. Al Khal explained that Qatar entered the peak phase and the peak of the wave that afflicts the country in relation to the epidemic (Covid-19), where the number of infected persons exceeded the 1,000 cases every day, this number is expected to witness fluctuation between 1000 and 1600 now.
He said that currently it is difficult to predict the end of the peak period precisely because that depends on many factors, including the behavior of people, where the more people adhere to the procedures, the more we will reach the top of the wave faster to get confined faster.
He pointed out that, based on the latest figures and data, it is clear that the State of Qatar is at its peak, and that this situation will remain for a period of days to a week or more, and then the numbers will decline.
He stressed that if the numbers started to decline and witness a decrease, then it is possible to talk about the gradual return to natural activities, gradually and deliberately.
People with chronic disease are more vulnerable
Evidence from around the world shows that while anyone can become infected with COVID-19, people with chronic disease are more likely to develop severe symptoms if they get the virus.
Data from our Intensive Care Units at HMC shows that 49 percent of patients admitted to ICU with COVID-19 have one or more chronic health conditions.
It is clear that COVID-19 affects people with chronic disease in a much more serious way than other people - and so it is extremely important for people with chronic disease to stay at home as much as possible ad follow preventive measures to protect themselves from catching the virus.
Majority of cases are mild or asymptomatic
The symptoms and their severity differ from case to case for COVID-19 patients and indeed many patients are asymptomatic - meaning they display no symptoms at all.
94% of cases in Qatar are mild or asymptomatic, 5% require hospitalization and 1% are admitted to Intensive Care Units
We have been using plasma treatment for patients admitted to the Communicable Disease Center, with plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
To date, more than 100 patients have received plasma from around 96 recovered donors and the team is seeing the number of donations from recovered patients rise each week.
The most critically ill COVID-19 patients are currently being treated at the Intensive Care Unit at Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital and severely ill COVID-19 patients often require mechanical ventilation. A small percentage - the most severely-ill - will require extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy.