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We have succeeded in flattening the COVID-19 curve, says Dr Khal

We have succeeded in flattening the COVID-19 curve, says Dr Khal

Tribune News Network
Doha
The COVID-19 infection rate is stabilising in Qatar and there’s no significant surge in new cases, Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, Co-Chair of the National Pandemic Preparedness Committee and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, has said.
“We are three months into COVID-19 outbreak in Qatar and we have succeeded in flattening the curve and reducing the impact of the virus by 75 percent, thanks to the preventive measures, and the awareness and cooperation of the community,” Dr Khal said in an interview with Qatar Television.
He said the latest data on new cases and hospital admissions shows a levelling off and the coming week or two will confirm if this will continue to be the trend.
“We are now regularly seeing more daily recoveries – this is partly due to the new 14-day discharge criteria because evidence shows that people with mild symptoms are not infectious after 10 to 14 days of infections,” he said.
Dr Khal said, “We are seeing an increase in the number of deaths but Qatar continues to have one of the lowest death rates in the world, thanks to the measures put in place — effective preventive measures to protect the elderly and those with chronic conditions, early detection, early administration of treatment, excellent care, sufficient acute and ICU beds and redirecting of resources.”
“The availability of sufficient number of beds and the medical staff in intensive care units contributed greatly to reducing the number of deaths,” he said, adding that there has been a decrease in the number of cases entering intensive care units.
Dr Khal, however, noted that young people too are at the risk of contracting the virus.
“Young people have to take coronavirus seriously as there have been deaths among patients aged below 30 and even 20 years,” Dr Khal said.
“More than 90 percent of the citizens and residents did not catch the virus, but they are vulnerable to infection and they must take full care to protect themselves against the infection,” he noted.
He pointed out that ensuring people with COVID-19 are treated early is important to prevent their conditions from worsening. For this reason, it is important that people with symptoms present themselves early for testing, he added.
“As we move towards a new normal where we have to live with the virus, it is very important that people continue to follow preventive measures,” he cautioned.
Dr Khal advised people to exercise utmost caution against COVID-19 as each new case is expected to infect three more people.
Going by the basic reproduction number of the novel coronavirus, each infected person transmit the virus to three others and each of those three would transmit to three others and so on, Dr Khal added.
Dr Khal said authorities are aiming to bring this number down to one and then the virus transmission would recede. He said measures like quarantining and social distancing will go a long way in achieving it.
Dr Khal said the virus will not go away even if the precautionary measures have been eased and “we must realise that the risk of the virus has not been eliminated”.
Dr Khal said resuming business and other activities should be done gradually and in a prudent manner, with strict observation of social distancing, wearing masks and maintaining hand hygiene to avoid resurgence of the virus.
“Following lifting of the restrictions, it is important for people not to leave their houses unless it is absolutely necessary. This is particularly true for those who are 60 years and older and those with chronic conditions,” he added.
Dr Khal said Ehteraz app will help with the gradual lifting of the restriction as it adds another layers of protection for the community as a whole. It is good example how technology is proving to be valuable in combating the virus and facilitating return towards normal life.