'End of Covid-19 peak in Qatar depends on people's behaviour'
May 21 2020 08:54 PM
Dr Abdullatif al-Khal
Dr Abdullatif al-Khal

Doha

It is difficult now to precisely predict the end of the Covid-19 outbreak’s peak period in Qatar because of many factors, including the behaviour of people, a senior official and healthcare expert said.

“Based on the latest figures and data, it is clear that Qatar is at its peak, and that this situation will remain for a period of days to a week or more, and then the numbers will decline,” observed Dr Abdullatif al-Khal.

The chair of the National Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, was addressing a press conference held by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday night.

He attributed the recent increase in the Covid-19 infection among citizens and residents other than expatriate workers due to the lack of commitment of many members of the society to preventive measures such as not indulging in social visits and group dinners and not leaving the house except for necessity, along with not wearing a surgical mask and washing hands as recommended by the MoPH.

Dr al-Khal pointed out that Tuesday was considered the 79 day of the emergence and spread of the epidemic in Qatar, noting that the curve of infections and virus activity generally appears to be on the rise.

He also clarified that the average prevalence in recent times has been on the rise until it reached a kind of stability during the last three days (until Tuesday). The number of infections during the past week was only 10,449 cases with the lowest rate on May 15 when 1,153 cases were recorded and the highest on May 14 with 1,731 cases.

“If the numbers started to decline, then it is possible to talk about a gradual return to normal activities,” he said while giving an update on the Covid-19 situation in Qatar.

He reviewed statistics on the Covid-19 cases diagnosed last week, noting that most were in the age group between 25-34 years, constituting 35% of the patients, followed by the age group 35-44 years (27% of cases), and the 15-24 age group.

Dr al-Khal noted that the total number of those who entered intensive care since the beginning of the pandemic in Qatar reached 555, of whom 383 cases were discharged, with the rest currently undergoing intensive care.

It has been seen that those above 45 years are most vulnerable to severe infections and complications from the virus and require intensive care. On average, the number of cases that needed to enter intensive care during the past week was 20 cases per day, up from 14 per day during the week before.

It is striking that there are relatively large numbers of young people from the ages between 25-34 years and 35-44 years requiring intensive care.

“This means that the virus can also cause complications for the youth group, especially those with chronic diseases,” Dr al-Khal observed.

Out of all the cases in intensive care, females account for only 16%. About 43% of those in intensive care, or 74 cases, need artificial ventilation.

Referring to the increasing number of recoveries from Covid-19 in Qatar, Dr al-Khal was also full of praise for health workers in all departments and hospitals, led by HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari.

"It as a very good sign and provides a clear picture of the efficiency of the health system in Qatar," he added.





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