No need to panic over COVID-19, says MoPH Mar 08, 2020 0 16788 12345 CATHERINE W GICHUKIDOHA More than 3, 000 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) so far in Qatar and only 12 of them tested positive for the virus, Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) officials said at a press conference on Saturday.The officials assured that there is no need to panic as all the suspected cases were put at quarantine facilities on their arrival in Doha and they never had any interaction with anyone.All indicators on the possibility of spread of the virus in the country remain low, they added.Director of Public Health Department Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Thani said the cases that have tested positive so far are those who returned from Iran.“The patients who tested positive for the virus are being treated at the Communicable Disease Center (CDC). All the infected patients are in stable condition,” he said, adding that, “We are giving them all the protocols of the disease to ensure that there is no sudden deterioration of health.”He said so far not a single case has been reported from the community and the chances of the virus spread are very low.Regarding travelling, he said people who are above 60 years old, or with or without chronic diseases to postpone their travel plans.“It is better for them not to travel and they can lower the burden on us to bring them back, in case they fall sick. Here, we have the treatment, system, and wait and see what is coming in the next few months.”He stressed that the current situation does not require closing schools given that the chances of spread of the disease in Qatar remains low. He said they are constantly evaluating the ministry’s measures and its effectiveness in stopping the spread of the virus. The Ministry of Public Health places students’ health at the top of its priority, he said, reiterating that conditions as they stand do not require closing of schools.“Other countries took the decision to close schools because they suspected that there were cases in the community. In Qatar, all the cases are imported and in the quarantine,” he added.The ministry is fully transparent regarding the disease and is committed to providing the public with accurate information. He called on the public to stick to obtaining information from official sources and avoid rumours. He noted that responsibility regarding the spread of information is shared between the ministry and members of society, highlighting the public’s awareness of the importance of seeking out information from official sources.Director of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control at the Public Health Department and co-chair of the National Epidemic Preparation Committee Dr Hamad al Rumaihi assured the community that MoPH is taking all the required measures to deal with COVID-19. “We have heightened our vigilance, for instance conducting thermal scanning for all inbound passengers to Doha, in addition to having airport clinic equipped with medical teams to conduct screening and to assess all passengers coming from endemic countries.”For his part, Co-chair of the National Epidemic Preparation Committee Dr Abdullatif al Khal said it is reassuring that the risk of the disease spreading in Qatar is very low.Regarding the shortage of masks and sanitizers in pharmacies, the officials said the MoPH would like assure the public that it is in contact with local agents for medical supplies in Qatar to import sufficient quantities of medical masks and sterilisers andprovide them in pharmacies as soon as possible. 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