Qatar Now On Second Wave of COVID-19, MoPH Reimposes More Restrictions
The Ministry of Public Health has confirmed that Qatar is now on the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with the number of positive cases continuing to increase daily.
In a press conference, Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), stressed that over the past two weeks, the COVID-19 situation in Qatar has become worse as more people fall sick and need to be admitted to the hospitals with severe illness. He said:
In the past week, the rate of daily cases has increased, and it is clear that we are in the second wave of the virus. We are now seeing over 500 new cases every day and it is likely (that) this number will increase over the next 10 to 14 days.
Dr Al Khal also noted that the circulation of the UK variant of the virus has contributed significantly to the spread of the virus.
It is more transmissible and clinical evidence appears to show that the UK variant can cause more severe illness.
The government has reimposed restrictions to curb the spread of the deadly disease effective Friday, 26 March.
As per the weekly Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister and Minister of Interior HE Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, the cabinet announced the reimposition of restrictions including the stopping of gyms, the reduction of capacities in cinemas, museums, indoor restaurants and the prevention of social gatherings and visits in closed places like homes and Majlis and no more than five people in open places.
Doha Metro and public transport vehicles will operate at 30% capacity on weekdays and at 20% capacity on Fridays and Saturdays. Designated smoking areas in stations will remain shut, and food and drinks will not be allowed in public transport vehicles.
Indoor gatherings in homes and majlis are prohibited; outdoor assemblies are restricted to five persons. Family members residing in the same house can be together in winter camps, while weddings in closed and open spaces are banned until further notice.
Only a maximum of two persons or family members residing in the same house can gather in beaches, public parks and Doha Corniche (including in playgrounds and around exercise equipment)
Health clubs, physical training centres, massage services, saunas, Jacuzzi services, and Moroccan and Turkish baths will remain closed until further notice, with the exception of gyms in hotels for guests. All swimming pools and water parks will remain closed until further notice.
There will also be a reduction in the number of people allowed inside commercial complexes, wholesale markets, beauty salons and barbershops. Private healthcare facilities capacity will be reduced to 70%.
The government calls on the public to observe precautions to avoid getting the virus. Dr Ahmed Mohammed, Acting Chairman of the HMC Intensive Care Unit said:
It is very important that people seek help early – as soon as they notice the signs and symptoms – as the earlier treatment can be given, the better the chances of a full recovery. This is particularly important for the older members of the community and those with chronic diseases.
The government assured, however, that the healthcare system in the country remains active and is providing care and support across all essential services via a range of telemedicine services.
Related story: Qatar Launches Online COVID-19 Vaccination Registration
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