Under the chairmanship of Prime Minister and Minister of Interior H E Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani and in the presence of Ministers and heads of relevant bodies, the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management held its meeting to follow up the work of the various bodies to contain the coronavirus COVID-19 and manage the crisis in a way that guarantees the health and safety of society and the continuation of a decent life for all who live in the State of Qatar.
In a press conference yesterday, Spokesperson of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management, H E Lolwah bint Rashid bin Mohammed Al Khater, announced the registration of eight new COVID-19 cases, most of them are expatriate workers and two Qatari citizens returning from the Italian Republic and the United Kingdom.
She said that all cases are subject to quarantine, adding that most of the cases, in general, are in a stable health condition, except six cases, who are in intensive care, wishing them a speedy recovery.
She revealed that six new cases of COVID-19 have been cured, (two Qataris and four expatriates), bringing the total of cured people to 10 so far. H E Al Khater announced that the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management decided to allocate hotlines to receive proposals and complaints, and the hotlines will be announced soon.
Her Excellency clarified that since the beginning of the crisis, the State of Qatar has pursued the principle of transparency and the sharing of all information, which is the approach it intends to continue, stressing the necessity not to circulate false rumours and news, and to take news from its official sources, including the accounts of the Government Communication Office and the Ministry of Public Health on social networking platforms.
She reviewed the patterns of virus spread to date in Qatar, explaining that the COVID-19 virus is a new phenomenon in the world, so health authorities around the world and those in Qatar are constantly seeking to determine the characteristics of this epidemic and how to limit its spread.
She said: “From what we found in the State of Qatar, there are two main patterns so far for the spread of COVID-19, which are: The first chain of transmission was between arrivals, and it is called societal infections, and it turned out that its focus was in the area that was closed from Street 1 to 32 in the industrial area.
The second chain of transmission, which exists between Qataris and is not considered to be societal infections in most of them, but rather by the returning citizens from some countries, especially European ones and have been subjected to the quarantine.
Her Excellency explained that this does not mean that the mentioned forms of transmission will not change, but this is what has been monitored so far, and it requires, especially among those coming from abroad, a lot of responsibility and precaution to preserve themselves in the first place and to preserve their family members as well, whether this individual is grandfather or grandmother, a father or mother, brother or sister, or one of the sons.
Her Excellency affirmed that the coming period is a critical stage for breaking these transitional chains, and requires everyone’s solidarity and self-monitoring. Her Excellency revealed that the Ministry of Public Health approved the policy of home quarantine as a second option for families coming from abroad who prefer that for special circumstances, provided that they don’t show any symptoms of the disease, and that they pass the initial medical examination.
They are also required to sign a formal commitment to comply with the procedures approved by the relevant international institutions and the Ministry of Public Health, she explained. Her Excellency added that in the case of not respecting this quarantine, the legal procedures will be implemented, indicating that many countries have implemented this policy, and the first option remains to quarantine in the facilities designated for that.
Her Excellency reaffirmed that the personal responsibility of individuals and their implementation of the necessary preventive measures are the primary factor in containing the virus and limiting its spread in this crucial period. Her Excellency advised not to leave the house except for necessity and to limit gatherings, especially since the Cabinet approved the implementation of work remotely for 80 percent of employees in the public sector.
HE Al Khater called on everyone not to tolerate this epidemic, to protect themselves and others, and to maintain an appropriate distance when dealing with others. In this context, Her Excellency praised the commitment of many families to these procedures and sending positive messages to their surroundings that they have already started implementing them.
Her Excellency explained that officials revised during the meeting of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management the latest economic and commercial developments, and it was found that the supply chains of goods were not affected and that there is a strategic stock of basic materials, as all relevant policies have been developed to deal with such crises since 2017.
HE Al Khater said that there is ongoing work to establish more factories for some basic materials that the State may need in the coming period. Her Excellency praised in this regard the role of many private companies, including contracting companies and individuals, who gave the most wonderful examples of solidarity in this crisis, where some of them took the initiative to volunteer, adding that some companies, including contracting companies, provided their services and facilities free of charge, and some private companies not covered by the Amiri decision also exempted renters from rental fees.
In this context, Her Excellency announced that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will open the door to receiving requests from companies that wish to provide services under the voluntary activities of the state and society under these circumstances and. She also pointed out that the Ministry of Public Health in cooperation with several institutions such as the Qatar Red Crescent Society and Qatar Charity and others will open the door to volunteering for individuals aged between 20 and 45 years for medical or logistical support, each according to his experience, according to the conditions determined by the Ministry of Public Health.
Her Excellency stressed during the press conference, that the State of Qatar will overcome this crisis, noting the bonds of interdependence that have appeared in the Qatari society. During the press conference, HE Spokesperson of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management Lolwah bint Rashid bin Mohammed Al Khater said that what has been noticed is that many people, especially those who returned from abroad, prefer to stay in hotels that have been designated for quarantine, as some people who have the option to stay in home isolation or quarantine in hotels prefer to stay in hotels, which reflects a state of community awareness.
In her response to a question in this regard, she added that some family members do not want to mix with their family members, which is a good thing, explaining that its preferable that if the person comes from one of the infected countries to be isolated in the facilities designated by the state as a precautionary measure, especially if the house is not equipped for the isolation process. Her Excellency confirmed that there are several facilities and hotels available that individuals can choose for quarantine.
Also, HE Al Khater indicated that the announced hotlines will be available for any individual, who needs psychological support, any advice, or other matters, adding that the door for volunteering will be opened and that through volunteers there will be more psychological support for all families.
The representative of the Ministry of Public Health at the press conference Dr. Jameela Alkhowaiter Al Ajmi, who is also Executive Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Hamad Medical Corporation, explained that isolation at home is for a person who has been in contact with a person infected with the virus but he doesn’t have symptoms of infection, so he has to isolate himself for 14 days.
She explained that home isolation or quarantine is very important and considered one of the most important precautionary measures to contain the coronavirus, which is spread by mixing with people with the disease, and exposure to droplets from the infected person during sneezing or coughing, so it is necessary to maintain a distance of at least a meter between people, which can only be implemented by home isolation or quarantine, adding that the person is responsible to protect himself and his family.
Al Ajmi pointed out that the home isolation revolves around several steps, the most important of which is to isolate the person himself in his place, where it is preferable to have a private room, that has good ventilation and a private bathroom while avoiding mixing with visitors and family members.
She explained that in the event of symptoms of infection with the coronavirus, the isolated person should contact the Ministry of Public Health to seek advice, with an emphasis on applying other preventive measures such as washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, with family members keen to clean the household surfaces, as well as protecting children from the transmission of the virus and training them on the method of home isolation.
Also, she pointed out that the person in the house isolation must stay away from the elderly and people with chronic diseases, keep a distance between him and all family members, and stay in the isolation room for 14 days.
In her response to a question regarding whether home isolation means dispensing quarantine in facilities designated by the state for this, Dr. Jameela Al Ajmi explained that house isolation is to stay at home and isolate the same person from the rest of the family, while quarantine is the persons stay in the health facility in an isolated room, indicating that the responsibility is the same whether the person is at home or quarantine in terms of applying preventive measures against the virus, as the persons stay at the home is in a separate room as well as in the hospital.
She added that the difference between home isolation and quarantine in facilities allocated by the state is that the person in the hospital quarantine is under comprehensive medical care, especially if health condition does not allow him to stay at home, so it’s better to quarantine in the hospital.
She pointed out that most people who enter quarantine need intensive care similar to those who have immunodeficiency or the elderly, who have chronic diseases or the clinical condition is very severe and requires the presence of doctors.