During an interview on Qatar TV on Monday evening, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mohammed, the Acting Head of the Intensive Care Department at the HMC, mentioned that a complete lockdown is the best way to stop the spread of the virus during this second wave wherein new strains exist in the country. This includes the UK strain which has been a significant factor in the recent increase in people admitted to intensive care units at HMC, according to health officials at the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
Speaking to Qatar TV, he said that there's also an increase in the number of infections in children under 14 years which wasn't the case during the first wave.
About how the new strains have entered the country, Dr. Ahmed Al Mohammed said that the new strains may have entered through travelers, transit travel, or congestion at the airport at certain times.
Now that the new strains exist in the country, what's important now is what is being done to stop the spread. He further mentioned that the best way to stop the spread of the virus is a complete lockdown of two or three weeks, which will help make a big difference in the number of infections, as the UK strain spreads faster.
“A full lockdown, such as what we had last summer where the roads were empty and people worked from home, is the best way to stem the spread of the virus,” al-Mohammed said.
As long as people are meeting, attending events, and participating in social visits, the spread of the virus will continue to spread, he added.
"In terms of numbers, in February there were 53 cases in intensive care and now more than 300 cases."
"What is happening now is not attributable to one reason, which is the emergence of the UK strain or other strains, but there are several factors, including failure to adhere to the precautionary measures."
Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Ahmed Al Mohammed emphasized that the vaccine doesn't prevent infection with the virus but in the event of infection, it is light. He explained that there are currently some cases in hospitals of people who got the first dose and some of them got the two doses, but their numbers are very few.
He said that getting the vaccine is very important because it reduces the number of infected and the number of people that need to be hospitalized. "The studies indicate that the vaccine has contributed to reducing the rate of hospitalization at a rate ranging between 40-60%, while other studies have indicated that the rate reaches 80%, which confirms the benefit of the vaccine," he added.
Qatar updated the re-imposed COVID-19 restrictions last week which took effect from 26 March 2021.
Cover image credit: Shutterstock
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