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Posted On: 7 May 2020 11:47 pm
Updated On: 15 May 2020 05:37 pm

Qatar with one of the lowest fatality rate in the world: Health Minister; 93% of COVID-19 cases are mild

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93% of the COVID-19 cases in the country are mild and Qatar's health care system is strong thanks to the guidance of His Highness the Amir, the Minister of Public Health, H.E. Dr. Hanan Mohammed al Kuwari, said in an interview Thursday.

H.E. Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari talked to Al Jazeera, Thursday night, about the efforts of Qatar government in tackling the spread of coronavirus.

Increase in cases

She has mentioned that the numbers of cases have gone up but that's only natural and that she believes it's a result of Qatar's very strong testing measures.

"We have been testing approximately 40,000 per million so that's quite significant. That's one of the highest rates of testing and that reflects a true picture of what's happening in terms of infection rates. So the rates are not high, they are realistic. You will find that a lot of countries at the end of their pandemic, we realize that their curve actually looks like ours. So if you see the number of cases and others may be high but they're actually mild cases.

93% of the cases are mild and only 1% end up in the ICU and another 5% end up admitted to the hospital and that's actually quite a good rate to have in the country and that's because we are very active in seeking the cases. We are very active in finding cases, tracing them, isolating them, quarantining them, and therefore managing the case and situation much better.", says the health minister.

Low fatality rate

She also mentioned that Qatar has one of the lowest fatality rates in the world, with only 12 deaths so far. The health care system is very strong and can take a very large load. There are 700 ICU beds fully equipped with ventilators and fully staffed if need be. This is thanks to the guidance of H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and his emphasis during the past years on the need to build a strong and developed health care system.

"We have designated hospitals for patients with Coronavirus early when we saw that the threat of a pandemic was on our way. We now produce masks locally and manufacture artificial respirators and protective devices, all of which are locally manufactured, and by this, we can say that the danger and the crisis created opportunities for the local market."

Industrial Area

When asked about the lockdown of the Industrial Area, H.E. Dr. Kuwari explained, "There was a cluster in Industrial Area, and as it was an important area we took many health measures in the area. We set up a field hospital, mobile clinics, and other needs for the community to ensure that all public health measures and medicines are available and meet the need for this area after its closure."

Flattening the curve

She shared that they started with a team of 20 people doing contact tracing, and now there are 300 people doing contact tracing which consists of health care professionals, professors, university students, and other volunteers.

"We have flattened the curve. We are not peaking that aggressively that means we have flattened the curve", H.E. Dr. Kuwari quipped. "By putting social distancing measures, we have flattened the curve. We continue to monitor. We measure the attack rate in the population we have tested. Our reproduction rate has dropped significantly.

Easing of restrictions

"Our priority as a country is safety. We will not open unless it is safe to do that. We will keep the highest risk sector to open last. if we open too quickly there might be a second attack and we don't want that."

According to the health minister, the general community has been fantastic in following the regulations – following the social distancing and other steps announced by the authorities.

"Definitely there will be easing of the restrictions, but it is difficult to say when and how it will look like. Mandatory quarantine could be one way."

We will have to reinvent the way we work. Innovation in health and education is very important. Qatar is participating with the UN to help promote global innovation in how to better life.

Source: Al Jazeera interview