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Non-vital businesses to be shut from today: Khater

Non-vital businesses to be shut from today: Khater

QNA
Doha
The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management has emphasised that there will be zero tolerance with violators of the law issued by the Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani on the prevention of infectious diseases.
“We assure everyone that we will not relent in implementing the law and related procedures against all violators,” HE Lolwah bint Rashid al Khater, Spokesperson for the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management, said at a press conference.
She thanked the security establishment represented by the Ministry of Interior and the Internal Security Forces (Lekhwiya) for sparing no effort in implementing all safety and security measures.
Khater highlighted the establishment of the Health Prosecution to deal with all health law related violations.
Praising the efforts of doctors, medical staff and officials in the Ministry of Public Health, she said, “They are the first line of defence in this crisis. They have been working around the clock to ensure people get high-quality medical services. They are the soldiers who defend us in this crisis.”
Khater said all non-vital businesses such as cafes and juice stalls, education services and support centres, centres and workshops providing arts, theatrical and entertainment services, wedding and event services and centres and shoe and watch repair booths will be shut from Friday as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Other commercial shops’ working hours will be limited between 6 am to 7 pm, and will be prohibited from operating beyond that time, she said.
She noted that the vital sectors identified by the Cabinet, such as food stores, pharmacies, and delivery services, including delivery from restaurants, are excluded from this.
Giving the latest update on coronavirus cases, Khater said 12 more people, including three Qataris returning from Europe, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. All the new cases have been subjected to quarantine and their condition is stable.
Two more people also recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 43, she added.
Khater said the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management understands the changes that have taken place in the wake of the virus have caused some confusion and anxiety with some people becoming fearful. She, however, stressed that staying at home and applying the preventive measures in this time of crisis are the best options. She said Qatar government, with all its entities and organs, is doing all it can to ensure a normal life for all.
For his part, Brigadier Abdullah Khalifa al Muftah, Director of Public Relations Department at the Ministry of Interior, said people violating the quarantine requirements are being referred to the Health Prosecution. He said police patrols are being deployed across the country to monitor the implementation of the decision to prevent gatherings in public areas, beaches, prayer halls, mosques and other public places, as well as social events.
Regarding expiry of visas, he said considering the fact that airport closures around the world is hampering the return journey of many in Qatar, all entry visas of those in Qatar will be extended by a month. The extension can be availed online, through the Ministry of Interior’s website or through the Metrash smartphone application.
For his part, Saleh al Khulaifi, Assistant Undersecretary for Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, reviewed the mechanisms put in place to close non-vital commercial establishments. He said ministry inspectors are carrying out periodic campaigns at the stores to ensure their compliance with the decisions.
Regarding the closure of money exchange houses, Khulaifi said the decision was made to prevent crowding and the authorities concerned have activated electronic transfers so that people can send money home. He said salaries being credited to bank accounts as per the Wage Protection System. So, people can send money via online transfer.
As for domestic workers, he called on the head of the family to help them transfer money on their behalf using electronic means.
For his part, Dr Abdullatif al Khal, Co-Chair of the National Committee for Epidemiological Preparedness, said people infected with coronavirus divided into three groups
“The first one is mild or no symptoms. They are isolated so that the virus does not spread to other individuals. They are monitored by the medical and nursing staff until the recovery phase is complete,” he said.
The second group is severe cases where the patients have inflammation of the lower respiratory tract (lungs). These patients are isolated and hospitalized and given a set of drugs to reduce the severity of inflammation.
The third group comprises patients who need to enter intensive care. “The patients require more drugs and they are being put on ventilator for several days to help their immune system to overcome the virus, and then the gradual improvement will begin.”
He said the majority of the people tested positive for coronavirus in Qatar are young adults between the ages of 20 and 40. More than 18 people are in intensive care units, with the situation changing every day.