Posted on April 18, 2020

The high number of 392 new cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in Qatar on Thursday could be attributed to various factors, most importantly that the virus spread has reached one of its peaks in the region, a top Qatari medical expert said.

“The return to normal life may take a longer time but the most important thing is to strictly abide by the precautionary and preventive measures to curb the potential spread of Covid-19,” Dr Abdullatif Mohamed al-Khal told Qatar TV. “The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) intensified its testing efforts and takes all the necessary procedures with people in contact with infected cases at work or accommodation,” explained the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Department of Medical Education at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

Dr al-Khal explained there are two main types of Covid-19 spread in the country. While the one among expatriate workers is getting higher, the other type among the general society is still relatively low. “Early detection of the infected cases and quarantine of the persons who have been in contact with them is highly instrumental to break the intensity of its spread. “The MoPH has been very active in providing all the necessary facilities in co-operation with the related entities. By the end of this month, there will be 12,000 beds available for health quarantine, 400- 500 beds intensive care, and 600 beds for critical cases,” he said.

“Currently there are global research efforts on developing 70 different vaccines employing various techniques and methods but if two or three of these succeed, there will still be various practical challenges to see whether they will be effective for the different categories of people, easily accessible and could be produced in mass quantities. It is very early to give assumptions on all this”. As for whether high temperature (weather) could curb the spread of Covid-19, Dr al-Khal stressed it is still early to predict this because it is a relatively new issue.

However, he said that the development of a vaccine for the disease is getting exceptionally quick as it took only three months to get the necessary approvals for starting clinical tests on humans and animals. Plasma treatment has been used successfully for the severe cases while the mild cases with no risk factors such as chronic diseases can be treated with various medications. Dr al-Khal also serves as a senior consultant in Infectious Diseases and is the head of the Infectious Diseases Division, HMC, manager of Qatar’s National Tuberculosis Programme, and director of Qatar’s Clinical Aids Programme.

source: Gulf Times