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Posted On: 12 March 2020 11:30 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 09:10 am

What not to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

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We've heard and read a lot about what we need to do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and how to prevent contracting the virus. So, we thought it was time to talk about what you shouldn't do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak here in Qatar so can stop its spread.

We've put together a bunch of what not to do's at this time:

Do not panic

During a time like this when everyone is talking about the coronavirus (COVID-19), and people all over the world are being exposed to this virus, with Qatar having 262 cases since 27 February, it is important that no one panics. Panicking does not help, preparation and precautionary measures do.

According to Dr. Rebecca Katz, director of the Centre for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University:

“We’re not going into a crazy movie situation where the world is on fire, but we may be going into a situation where there are people walking around who are sick.”

That still doesn’t mean that one should panic, especially in Qatar, where all the relevant authorities are working round-the-clock to ensure this virus doesn’t cause an outbreak here in Qatar, with those affected by the coronavirus put in immediate isolation with medical treatment and over 3,500 people already tested and over 800 in quarantine as a precautionary measure. According to the Ministry of Public Health, the threat of an outbreak is very low in Qatar still, so please: DON’T PANIC AND DON’T SPREAD PANIC!

What not to do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Doha Qatar

Do not get stressed

Stress will not help you or your family. It will only cause you to panic unnecessarily and affect your health. It’s better to stay on top of things by practicing good hygiene habits, staying away from very crowded areas, avoiding physical contact, and not travelling unless absolutely necessary.

Rather than get stressed, why not research on ways to prevent the virus from spreading more and what to watch out for by visiting the website that's specifically dedicated to coronavirus (COVID-19) updates:

Do not spread rumours

A lot of rumours have been doing the rounds on social media in Qatar this week with people going as far as saying thata hypermarket on Salwa Road and Dar-us-Salam have been shut down because people in these places contracted coronavirus (COVID-19), which was absolutely fake.

What do people get out of sharing fake news and spreading rumours without actually checking the facts?

Please remember to always check your sources before you spread any kind of information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) or anything else for that matter, or you may cause unnecessary panic in the general public. It's a criminal offence to spread rumours and fake news here..

Do not stockpile face masks

People have been buying face masks from stores and pharmacies across Qatar and stockpiling them, so it’s hard to find these items across the country. There is absolutely no need to panic and stockpile these items, as regular surgical masks do not protect you from contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19), because they do not fit as tightly as the N-95 mask which protects more, but there is no need to stockpile them either. When you stock up on N-95 masks and other masks, you are depriving front-liners like doctors and nurses precious personal protective environment.

Also, when you panic buy face masks and use them even if you don’t symptoms, you’re putting yourself more at risk because you are taking away scarce resources from sick people who need them more. If the public starts stock piling these items, medical professionals and healthcare facilities will not have access to masks if and when they are actually needed.

A mask is only needed if you are sick or caring for someone who is. Seriously, people in Qatar: STOP STOCKPILING MASKS!

Do not stockpile sanitisers and hand wipes

Seriously, what is going on here? There is no need to buy and hoard 10s of sanitiser and hand wipes. Qatar is well-equipped to ensure there is no shortage of items in the country, but if everyone goes out and starts buying all the sanitisers and wipes they can find in the market, it will create unnecessary panic across the country. Handwashing is more effective than sanitisers unless they have, at least, 60% of alcohol in them.

When you hoard things like hand sanitisers, alcohol, hand wipes – you are actually spreading the virus more by depriving other people the chance to protect themselves. In fact those who have emptied the shelves of sanitisers and not left any for other people should know that to avoid contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19), you need others to wash their hands, too…so: PLEASE STOP EMPTYING THE STORE SHELVES!

What not to do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Doha Qatar

Do not panic buy groceries

A lot of people in Qatar have been rushing to the grocery stores to buy food items and other groceries to stock in case of an emergency. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Qatar has issued a statement saying:

"The Ministry is working within a pre-defined plan to ensure the continued flow of goods, services, food, and subsidised products in the local markets without interruption, at high quality, and at reasonable prices in order to meet all the needs of citizens and residents."

There is no need and no point of stockpiling and hoarding food and other grocery items.

The Ministry also reminds the public that Qatar owns a strategic stock of food and consumer goods that meet all the needs of the citizens and residents of the country. It is also stressed that the public should choose the appropriate time for shopping, avoid crowding, and to buy goods and products only in quantities that are needed. It also added:

"The Ministry has worked in cooperation with the various concerned authorities to meet all the needs of the local market for medical masks, gloves, and sterilizers. The Ministry also undertakes continuous inspection campaigns to control prices and prevent monopolistic practices."


Do not forget to boost your immune system

If you have a strong immune system, it helps fight against viruses and diseases but more often than not, we don’t eat the right foods, we don’t exercise enough and we don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle. All these things are very important to build a strong immune system that will help you fight off diseases.

So, don't forget to boost your immune system by eating a more varied diet with plenty of foods that are high in fibre along with your five a day of fruits and vegetables is the best way to maintain good health. Exercising and eating well will also help you sleep better. A body that's tired is more likely to contract a virus or illness. Being physically active in some way every day, with, at least, 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (hiking, gardening, cycling) a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (running, swimming, an aerobics class) is ideal. Older people, who are more vulnerable to infection, should also do some form of light exercise that is easy for them.

What not to do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Doha Qatar

Do not eat foods that are undercooked

Avoid eating foods that are not properly cooked liked eggs, meat and poultry. Make sure whatever you eat is properly cooked to avoid any kind of cross-contamination.

Do not forget to wash your hands frequently and properly

Make sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and water for, at least, 20 seconds, especially after you've used the bathroom, before and after eating, after you sneeze or cough. and when you come from the outdoors. Also, when you touch surfaces in public places like elevator buttons, escalator and stair railings, different products and surfaces. This is important because washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub will kill viruses that may be on your hands.

If, at the time, you don't have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that has a minimum 60% of alcohol.

    What not to do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Doha Qatar

    Try not to touch your face, nose and eyes

    Although it’s not so easy to not touch your face, nose and eyes (I’ve noticed, I touch them all the time), it’s important during this time to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), that we avoid this. The reason for this is that when hands touch different surfaces, they can pick up viruses from them. Once your hands are contaminated, there is a possibility of transferring the virus to your mouth, nose or eyes which may then enter your body and can make you sick.

    Do not stand to close to anyone

    Stay, at least, one metre (three feet) away from anyone who is sneezing or coughing or sneezing because when someone sneezes or coughs, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain a virus. If you are too close to this person, you may breathe in the droplets, including the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus if the person sneezing or coughing has the disease.

    What not to do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Doha Qatar

    Do not greet anyone with a handshake, hug, kiss or nose kiss

    Since droplets are the cause of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s best to avoid physical contact with people when you greet them. In fact, why not think of new and different ways to greet people without using your hands, or upper body.

    Do not share items of personal use

    These include towels, toothbrushes, cups, glasses, mugs. Have your own separate items, and wash thoroughly after use.

    What not to do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Doha Qatar

    Avoid public gatherings

    Do not be part of large gatherings or public events. Many events have been cancelled or postponed till further notice in Qatar to avoid an outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This does not mean that the virus has spread all over Qatar. This is just a precautionary measure to keep everyone safe and protect them.

    Do not go out if you are feeling unwell

    Stay home, if you feel you are unwell, and if you develop a fever, cough or have difficulty in breathing, immediately seek medical attention (call 16000), and follow whatever directions are given to you by your health practitioner.

    Do not wait to call the coronavirus Hotline 16000 if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms

    If you are suffering from flu-like symptoms that include fever and difficulty breathing, immediately call the coronavirus Hotline 16000, so you can be assisted on what to do next. It may be just the common cold, but IT’S BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY!

    What not to do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Doha Qatar

    Do not hide or forget to tell your health practitioner if you have travelled recently

    If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, fever, cough or difficulty breathing, do not forget to tell the doctor if you have any recent travel history. Do not hide it. It’s not worth it. Always, be honest, so that the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) can be stopped. That doesn’t mean you may have the illness, it just means you are stating all the facts to minimise any risks to yourself and to others.

    Do not spit in public

    Not only is it unhygienic anyways and causes the spread of germs, it also increases the risk of spreading infections like the coronavirus (COVID-19), etc.

    Do not reuse face masks

    Although wearing an ordinary face mask does not guarantee that you won't get infected by any kind of virus like the coronavirus (COVID-19) and those people who are either unwell or caring for someone who is unwell need wear one, should you select to still wear a face mask, be sure to cover your mouth and nose properly, avoid touching the outer-side of the mask, immediately discard single-use masks after each use and wash hands after removing it.

    What not to do during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Doha Qatar

    Do not travel unless absolutely necessary

    Since you have more chances of being exposed to viruses like the coronavirus (COVID-19) when you’re travelling to different parts of the world, at this point in time, it’s best to avoid travel as much as possible, unless and until it’s absolutely essential. While many airports around the world, including Hamad International Airport have thermal scanners that are scanning the body temperatures of all passengers passing through these airports, sometimes, coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms may not occur till later on, so it’s best to avoid travel till the outbreak is controlled and minimised across the globe.

    That’s why, on March 8, 2020, the Government Communications Office Qata announced the temporary entry suspension of 14 countries to Qatar, in addition to Italy as part of efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The other countries are Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Thailand. The directive started on 9 March 2020, and will continue until further notice. This step comes in line with Qatar’s efforts to take all necessary preventive measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).