A joint press conference was held by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE) today to discuss the latest news and developments Coronavirus (Covid-19) and also about the new academic year in Qatar.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Disease Division at Hamad Medical Corporation and Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nuaimi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education chaired the press conference.
The following key messages were announced:
- The measures put in place have succeeded in lowering the number of new daily cases over the past few months, thanks to the combined efforts of the government and members of the public.
- What is very clear is that people who follow preventive measures- wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing and regular hand washing- have a very low risk of catching the virus.
- The high number of positive cases, among Qatari nationals and expat professionals, are due to a minority of people within these groups who continue to ignore preventive advice- putting themselves and those around them at risk.
- The Ministry has seen incidences of large scale family and celebrations of 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 up to date.
- The phased approach to lifting restrictions has worked very well and while small clusters of cases are seen, these are as a result of people not adhering to the preventive measures we have not yet seen signs of a second wave.
- Malls, workplaces, mosques and other public places are opened and people have been able to visit these locations safely- supported by EHTERAZ and the preventive measures- and we have not seen any 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 further lifting of restrictions does mean that the virus has disappeared and the threat to our health is gone.
- COVID-19 is still a very real threat and we must not become complacent.
- As we know, 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 first priority.
- The Ministry of Public Health has carried out pre-emptive checks for all school personnel for coronavirus, and it has been found that more than 98% are free from infection.
- Parents must make sure that their kids wear a facemask and do not suffer from a high temperature before going to school.
- The Ministries of Education and Health are working on a plan to open schools safely, including sanitizing classrooms and maintaining a safe distance.
- The Ministry of Health has identified preventive measures to limit the spread of coronavirus in schools.
- The Ministry said that it is necessary for students to attend the school as this is of great psychological and educational importance.
- 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.
- Students must adhere to preventive measures in schools and report any event of a respiratory infection to one of their classmates.
- The Ministry of Education is sparing no effort in implementing the directives of the Ministry of Public Health in preserving the safety of students and is taking all precautions as the commitment to precautionary measures is one of the duties of schools and colleges towards students.
- The Ministry said that the second round exams ended successfully and no cases of coronavirus were detected among the students.
- With a maximum of 30% of children in school each day, in addition to supporting preventive measures, the Ministry is confident that everything is in place to enable children to safely return to schools.
- MOEHE says that absence will not be counted for students during the first two weeks of the academic year, and the student will commit to distance education from home.
- The Ministry of Public Health intends to conduct random checks on all students in the coming days and weeks.
- Over 340,000 students will attend public and private schools for the upcoming academic year of 2020/21.
- 5 new public schools were opened which brings the total number of public schools and preschools to 283. Additionally, 145 new classrooms will be added to the existing public schools with a capacity of more than 3,600 seats to accommodate 124,700 students.
- 13 new private schools and kindergartens with a capacity of more than 7,600 seats were opened, which brings the total number of private schools and kindergartens to 334. This will accommodate nearly 215,000 students.
Source: QNA, Qatar Television, MoPH, MOEHE
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