Qatar took timely steps to curb COVID-19 spread: QU academics

The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management announced a series of decisions and took timely preventive measures — before many countries in the region took such steps — to ensure safety of the entire society and curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The government keeps assessing the situation minutely and takes timely decisions that are made to complement the preventive and precautionary measures that are implemented by the State of Qatar to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Peninsula approached in this regard some university professors to see how successful these measures are. 

“From the very beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management took a number of decisions and implemented measures which were very essential and were on the right time to protect the society from the pandemic,” said Dr. Kamal Hamidou, Associate Professor and Head of Department of Mass Communication at Qatar University while talking to The Peninsula.

He said that the decisions and preventive measures were taken even before detection of cases and before many countries in Europe and America took such measures. “Had these measures not been in place today, we could have about thousands of cases instead of hundreds,” said Dr. Kamal Hamidou.

He said that the government gave top priority to the safety of the society and its plan is to keep cases of infection at the minimum level. “Therefore, we see, reduction of number of employees at work places by 80 percent, closure of educational institutions and all sort of businesses,” Dr. Hamidou added. 

He pointed out that State of Qatar has learned much from the Gulf crisis and the government knows how to deal with such emergency cases.

Therefore, he said, within a short span of time everything was put in place and there were no shortages of any kind of needs. “Many local companies immediately started producing masks, sanitizers and disinfectants,” he added.

Asked about non compliance by some people of the health guidelines and violation of safety rules, Dr Hamidou said there is always very small number of people who violates rules, and this basically happens due to lack of understanding. “People should care for the safety of others, and I call upon all citizens and expatriates to must not become bridges for the virus and cause death for others. It is a common responsibility for all; not of the government alone,” he stressed.

He said that Qatar has successfully dealt with the crisis, although the situation is extraordinary. “The government gave priority to the safety of the society but also provided with alternatives, such as distance learning,” he said, adding that Qatar University is continuing its educating courses and no educational institutions stopped working.

Dr. Kamal Hamidou noted that the situation in Qatar is going well and is fully under control and legal actions taken against some violators of the health rules were deterrent and effective in making people understand the situation.

Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Shami, Professor of Department of Mass Communication at Qatar University noted that the precautionary measures taken by State of Qatar to curb the spread of COVID-19 are being implemented in a highly-coordinated manner.

“The measures’ implementation is well-managed and the decisions are accurate and gradual in line with the situation and interest of the people. The outcome of these measures and plans being implemented are tangible and assured the safety of the entire society,” Dr. Abdulrahman Al Shami told The Peninsula. He said that Qatar’s efforts are very clear where everything is available, from food to medicine and all services. “From the beginning of this coronavirus crisis we never felt there is any shortage of anything we need. Life is going smoothly as if nothing has happened. We saw, in many countries, people rushing to buy things to stay at home,” Dr. Al Shami added.

Regarding distance education, Dr. Al Shami said that the plan is being implemented in a very good way and availability of advanced technology, living conditions of the people in Qatar and support of the government have made it easy for everyone.

In regard to medical services, he said, the State of Qatar is very unique where there is no difference between citizens and expatriates, adding that all get quality medical services. “Even, I can say expatriates enjoy more privileges when it comes to health insurance in private hospitals and they get equal services in public hospitals.” “Despite lockdown and measures taken suddenly like suspension of classes in schools, distance learning was quickly adopted. Thanks to internet services and availability of smart mobiles, computers in every house, communication between teachers, students and parents is much easier. Of course there may be some difficulties for some families but with the support from the competent authorities everything has become easy,” he noted.

Dr. Al Shami said that everyone at this time needed to understand the peculiarity of the situation. “We need to share responsibility and make things go smoothly as have been planned by the State for our safety and interests.” For her part, Eiman Eissa, Lecturer of Strategic Communication at Mass Communication Department of Qatar University said that Qatar has taken strategic steps in managing the global crisis associated with the breakout of COVID-19 from the first day. “Numerous measures have been taken by Qatar in order to minimize the number of people infected by the virus. Many sectors such as public transportation, education, services, shopping malls, restaurants and non-emergency medical centers have been closed down,” she said, adding that the government provided the private sector with incentives to accommodate for any loses faced during this time of crisis.

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar