The Ministry of Public Health held a press conference Wednesday night to talk about the latest developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the increase in the cases in Qatar.
Dr. Abdullatif Al-Khal, chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, and Dr. Ahmed Mohammed, Acting Chairman Of HMC's Intensive Care Units announced the following during the press conference.
New COVID-19 strains from South Africa and the UK
- As announced two weeks ago, despite the best efforts to prevent the introduction of new variants into the country, Qatar, like many countries in the region and around the world, are now seeing many cases in Qatar of the new variant from the UK.
- The circulation of the UK variant has contributed significantly to the spread of COVID-19 in Qatar and to the recent increase in cases as it is more highly transmissible and clinical evidence appears to now show that the UK variant can cause more severe illness.
- In recent days, the MoPH has also identified a number of cases of the South African variant among returning travellers. The new restrictions will help to ensure the South African variant does not enter the community and become the dominant strain.
Second wave of COVID-19 in Qatar
- Over the past two weeks, the COVID-19 situation has become worse as more people are falling sick and need to be admitted to hospitals with severe symptoms.
- In the past week, the rate of daily cases has increased, and it is clear that we are in the second wave of the COVID-10 pandemic.
- There are over 500 new cases every day and it is likely this number will increase over the next 10-14 days.
- In just the past two weeks there has been a:
- 82% increase in people in ICUs with COVID-19
- 58% increase in people in hospitals with COVID-19
- There have also been 13 deaths due to COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
- The MoPH has added specialised surgery centres to the COVID-19 treatment centres, and an entire floor of the centres will be converted into intensive care units.
Seek treatment early
- It is very important that people seek help early - as soon as they notice the signs and symptoms - as the earlier treatment can be given the better the chances of a full recovery. This is particularly important for the older members of the community and those with chronic diseases.
- The UK variant has the potential to cause more severe symptoms if left untreated, so the importance of early intervention cannot be overstated. Those with mild to moderate symptoms can still stay under home isolation.
Outpatient services in hospitals and primary health care centres over the phone
- With the rise in COVID-19 cases causing a significant risk to both patients and healthcare staff, the majority of outpatient services in hospitals and primary health centres have been moved from face-to-face appointments to virtual services.
- Despite this, the healthcare system remains active and is providing care and support across all essential services via a range of telemedicine services.
- With healthcare staff now working round the clock to care for patients with COVID-19, it is important that the public support the health system by only visiting emergency departments or calling 999 for serious, life-threatening medical conditions.
COVID-19 protocols and restrictions must be followed
- The data and clinical evidence is clear - unless we all do our part in following these new COVID-19 restrictions as well as all the preventive measures, we will continue to see the number of new daily cases increase daily.
- If each and every one of us takes responsibility and acts appropriately over the next two to three weeks, we can cut this virus off and begin to see a big decline in cases.
- We all have an individual responsibility to play our part in getting through this pandemic. Although we are in a better position this year than last year because of the vaccines, at least for now, we must all work
together and tighten the measures against COVID-19.
Holy Month of Ramadan
- With the Holy Month of Ramadan fast approaching in April, we must all do what we can now so that we can control this virus quickly and hopefully ease some of the restrictions during Ramadan so we can celebrate Eid.
Source: Qatar Television Twitter
Cover image credit: Qatar Television
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