The hashtag #انا_ملتزم_بالكمامة is trending in Qatar lately. What does it mean? Literally translated, it means "I am committed to wearing a mask". The aim of the trending hashtag #انا_ملتزم_بالكمامة is to emphasise on the importance of wearing a mask when out of the home, so life can go back to normal and we can enjoy all those activities we enjoyed before COVID-19 hit the world, and to encourage locals and expats to practice precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus in Qatar.
What's the reason for this trending hashtag? People in Qatar have become a little lax when it comes to following COVID-19 safety and precautionary protocols, ever since Qatar started reopening restaurants, hotels, gyms, retail, play areas, entertainment areas, etc. and hosted some festivals, exhibitions and other outdoor events. When you're out and about, you'll often see people with their masks under their nose or their chin, or they may not even be wearing one.
So far, Qatar has done rather well when it comes to keeping the number of COVID-19 cases in the country as low as possible, with the numbers constantly falling over the past few months. However, with the start of 2021, the cases in Qatar have been slowly increasing on a daily basis.
The numbers may not be that high, but they are increasing because people are not following the SOPs. Masks are still mandatory, social distancing is a must, and washing and sanitising hands is still a have-to-do thing! If we aren't conscientious and stop following the COVID-19 protocols, we'll hit a second wave, and if we look at other countries around the world where they are facing a second wave as an example, we can clearly see that the second wave is worse.
Yes, the vaccine is out and people are getting vaccinated, but we still need to be careful. We still need to practice safety and precautionary measures till everyone is vaccinated and the coronavirus (COVID-19) is eliminated.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, told a press conference held by the Ministry of Public Health last week:
“Most countries of the world are witnessing a significant increase in the number of infections.
“In Qatar, until recently, we were able to significantly reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, but in the past few weeks, began to witness a remarkable increase in the number of daily infections due to the not wearing of masks at public gatherings and weddings."
He also added: “The doubling of the number of daily infections is a matter of concern as it may be signs of a second wave in Qatar. If the positive cases and hospital admissions continue to increase over the coming week or two, additional restrictions may need to be implemented across the country and we will return to some of the early restriction phases.“
In the same press conference, Dr. Hamad Eid Al Rumaihi, Director, Department of Health Protection and Prevention of Transitional Diseases said:
“According to health indicators in Qatar, we have not yet entered into a second wave of the pandemic, but there are signs of it."
Everyday, the Ministry of Interior is referring people to the Public Prosecution because they are caught without masks in places where masks are mandatory. This measure is in line with the Cabinet decision, Decree-Law No. 17 of 1990 on infectious diseases, and the precautionary measures in force in Qatar to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Would you rather go back into lockdown or would you like to enjoy different activities outside the home like going to malls, enjoying festivals and outdoor events, taking your kids to the different parks in Qatar, meeting up with family and friends, etc?
The government in Qatar is playing its part by trying to keep us safe. The MoPH urges the public to wear a mask when out of their homes and in places where it's mandatory because wearing a mask can reduce the spread of the virus. The MOI is referring people everyday to the Public Prosecution who are not wearing masks or violate home quarantine rules. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry monitors the situation and decides what can remain open and what must be closed down temporarily.
The rest is up to us! Whether or not we wear masks will also be a factor in the increasing numbers of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Qatar at the present moment. It may not be the only factor, but it is a contributing one. That's why masks are a must.
In fact, According to the World Health Organisation, masks are a key way to suppress the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19 and save lives, including your own, and should be used as part of a ‘Do it all!’ approach also includes maintaining physical distancing, trying to avoid crowded, closed and
close-contact settings as much as possible, being in places with good ventilation, sanitising hands, washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, covering
sneezes and coughs.
Need more proof that masks are necessary for preventing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
This is what the World Economic Forum tells us about the importance of wearing a mask:
Yes, masks alone are not perfect, but they do help - a lot more than you think - and when combined with the other COVID-19 protocols, actually do reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19) further.
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