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No COVID-19 second wave in Qatar: Official

No COVID-19 second wave in Qatar: Official

CATHERINE W GICHUKI
Doha
The COVID-19 situation in Qatar is steady and stable and there is no second wave of the virus in the country, a senior health official has said.
“In the past week, we noticed a slight decrease of about 15 percent compared to the previous week. We can describe the situation at this point as being steady or stable and we are not witnessing a second wave like in many other countries,” Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19, said on Thursday.
Dr Al Khal, who is also the Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, was speaking at a webinar titled, “Qatar’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned” as part of Al Maerifa Public Seminar Series organised by Texas A&M University at Qatar.
The first reported COVID-19 case in the country was of a Qatari male who returned from Iran. The pandemic reached its peak towards the end of May and early June.
“Towards the end of May and early June, we had the peak of the pandemic where within one day we recorded more than 2,000 positive cases. With the measures that were implemented by the government and applied through the Ministry of Public Health including the restrictions and precautions, the pandemic relatively quickly started coming down. The numbers declined and have remained somehow steady in the entire population,” Dr Al Khal added.
He said that there was a spike in cases after Eid Al Adha and most of the cases were among Qataris and white-collar professionals. The spike in cases was attributed to social gatherings, social visits and social occasions like parties, he noted.
Dr Al Khal said the number of weekly hospital admissions reached 1,859 by the end of Eid and then it started to decline.
“As of last week, we had 259 hospital admissions in one week. Every day, we had between 35 and 50 patients,” he said.
By end of May and early June, the number of ICU admissions reached its peak (141 per week). Last week there were 40 admissions to the ICU in total.
“At present, we have about 58 patients who are receiving intensive care management in different ICU’s in our system,” he said.
Dr Al Khal said around 5,000 samples are being tested every day. “We have the capacity to do up to 25,000, if we need on a daily basis. At present, we run between 5,000 and 9,000 tests a day.”
Through contact tracing, for every 100 people there are about 9 who test positive.
“People who show clinical symptoms and go for COVID-19 test, 10 to 12 percent of them test positive. This is compared to 35 percent during the peak towards the end of May,” he said.
The Ministry of Public Health tests about 2,000 people every day as part of random surveys where they go to the malls, restaurants and other businesses and the healthcare system and they swab people who are otherwise healthy.
“The rate of people being tested randomly ranges between 1 and 2 percent and the indicator is assuring,” he added.