Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Qatar’s COVID-19 measures saved at least a million people from infection: Dr Khal

  • Oct 21, 2020
  • Author: QT-Online
  • Number of views: 30602
  • Health/Medicine
Tribune News Network

A million more people in Qatar would have been infected with COVID-19, if the country hadn’t rolled out measures to contain the spread of the novel corovirus within it borders, Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Hamad Medical Corporation, has said.

If it weren’t for the control measures, the impact of the virus would have been serious to the point of overburdening Qatar’s healthcare system, Dr Khal said, while addressing a virtual seminar organised by Texas A&M University in Qatar.
In a symposium titled “Qatar's response to the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned” Dr Khal said the country was able to remain resilient in the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Qatar was able to avoid rationing the critical care resources as it recorded one of the lowest mortality rates inflicted by the virus, he noted.
“As a result of the measures we have taken, we have been able to flatten the curve to the point that the peak number of injuries was 79 percent lower than if these measures had not been taken,” Dr Khal said.
Had it not been for the application of health restrictions and measures, the spread of the epidemic would have been greater and the number of injuries would have been greater, he emphasised.
“We cannot imagine the impact that would have had on the healthcare system if a million more people had been infected. Our measures led to an estimated 77 percent reduction in critical cases entering hospitals every day.
“There is no doubt each death means a lot to the family and the state — a very sad loss… Through excellent standards of care, early detection and treatment, we were able to keep the death rates very low. The response of the health care system was distinguished with regard to the percentage of critical cases and the death rate.”
Dr Khal said the readiness of the healthcare system in Qatar, in terms of personnel and infrastructure, allowed for rapidly raising the capacity of critical care, redistributing medical personnel, and providing treatment for people with COVID-19 virus in designated facilities. 
The doctor termed Qatar’s focus on conducting a large number of examinations and early proactive treatment as possible factors for limiting the number of infected individuals needing hospitalisation or developing severe conditions.
Early, rapid, comprehensive and standardized case assessment and care prevented the increase in the severity of COVID-19 and the critical injuries and deaths resulting from it, he added.
Speaking about what Qatar learned from the pandemic, Dr Khal explained that the experience of the epidemic was harsh for the whole world, and despite this it had positive aspects.
“The pandemic showed the importance of preparing and we have always prepared ourselves time and time again to deal with epidemics. We have strengthened our infrastructure for that. Although we never imagined something as big as COVID-19, and I don't think anyone else imagined it, our preparedness enabled us to respond quickly, and we are now better prepared to deal with pandemics or other health crises in the future.”