Posted on March 23, 2020

 In a press conference, seniors officials explained various initiatives taken by Qatar to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

Spokesperson of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management H E Lolwah bint Rashid bin Mohammed Al Khater; Director of Central Operations at the Ministry of Interior's National Command Center Colonel Hassan Mohammed Ghaith Al Kuwari; Assistant Undersecretary for Commerce Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Saleh Majid Al Khulaifi ; and Co-Chair of the National Committee for Epidemiological Preparedness in the Ministry of Public Health and head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation  Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal addressed the conference. 

Naming of quarantine violators is necessary to identify others who are in contact  

Publishing the names of those who violate the requirements and procedures of home quarantine comes within the framework of what has been announced regarding dealing firmly with everyone who violates the instructions, as the general health of society and law enforcement in general are above all considerations, Al Khater said.

At a press conference yesterday, Al Khater added that the other consideration relates to the safety of the people who have been in contact with these violators. Accordingly, it is necessary to announce the names so that the contacts of these people know that they are at risk of infection if the violator is carrying the virus (Covid-19) and advised them to go for medical examination to curb the spread of the virus. Her Excellency also emphasized the importance of obtaining information about the coronavirus from the Government Communication Office and the Ministry of Public Health, who will keep the public informed of the latest developments related to the virus, including data, numbers and statistics.

Hotline to receive reports on domestic quarantine 

For his part, Director of Central Operations at the Ministry of Interior's National Command Center Colonel Hassan Mohammed Ghaith Al Kuwari stressed at the press conference that the decision to impose precautionary measures to prevent gathering includes all forms and types of congregation. He reiterated that the decision is clear and includes all forms of gatherings, as this also includes private occasions like weddings or solace ceremonies, praising steps taken by some families who cancelled solace ceremonies in order to preserve the safety and health of people and in adherence to the decisions issued in this regard.

Regarding the new hotline, Colonel Al Kuwari said that the hotline will receive reports about people who are subject to domestic quarantine, hygiene or health reports, explaining that all they will be dealt with through a specific team that was formed to deal with these reports promptly. Colonel Al Kuwari called on the public to ensure that the reports are real and not exaggerated, like some of the reports that come to the emergency service line 999, stressing the need for everyone to cooperate at this stage.

Closure of commercial complexes to avoid crowding 

In response to a question about the closure of commercial complexes except for food outlets and pharmacies, Assistant Undersecretary for Commerce Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Saleh Majid Al Khulaifi, explained that the decision includes commercial complexes and local markets, with the exception of food and wholesale outlets, The decision also does not include retail stores in commercial streets.

On the decision of closing restaurants and cafes, Saleh Majid Al Khulaifi explained that these measures were taken to preserve the safety of the people in the first place, as all food establishments that are places for gathering and crowding will be closed, such as sports club facilities or waterfronts and the Corniche, with the aim of preventing these facilities from catering to individuals or food delivery companies. He pointed out that the previous circular applies on restaurants and cafes in malls, shopping centres or commercial streets, which allows serving food outside the restaurant through delivery services.

Saleh Al Khulaifi called on the community members to buy their supplies and food without overcrowding.

Coronavirus is more contagious than expected

For his part,  Dr Khal called on all those who came from overseas to be cautious and take all precautionary measures due to the possibility that they are infected with the virus. He said that in the context of caution and preventing the spread of infection, all incoming travellers should consider themselves infected when dealing with others, stressing the need to self checking for symptoms within two weeks from the arrival. as well as to home isolation until complete assurance.

Dr. Al Khal appealed to all citizens who have recently came to Qatar to give this issue great importance, given its seriousness to their health and to the health of society as a whole. He called for not underestimating this recommendation, saying that some youth believe they are safe from infection, contrary to this information from Europe and the United States show that 40% of those who enter hospitals are between 20 to 54 years of age. Dr. Al Khal said that a laboratory examination will be done for those who recently came from abroad, stressing that any person showing symptoms, especially respiratory infection and fever, should immediately call 16000 to take the necessary measures.

Responding to a question about the general situation of the COVID-19 infected patients in the country, Dr. Al Khalil said that the total number of infections reached 481 cases including the cases announced yesterday, pointing that 27 patients, including 17 cases announced yesterday, have recovered. The rest of the cases are still in hospitals and in isolation and most cases are mild, while there are some severe cases currently in intensive care. He added that the number of cases that are placed in intensive care increases and decreases according to the speed of improvement

Dr. Al Khal explained that the coronavirus (COVID-19) proved to be more contagious than expected. Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal called on all members of society to adhere to the precautionary and preventive measures announced by the state, especially with regard to social gatherings, and unnecessary trips.