Posted on April 28, 2020

Qatar Foundation’s  (QF) research, development and innovation centers have provided Hamad Medical Corporation with some of the equipment available in order to help speed up laboratory testing procedures, Director of the Public Health Department of the Ministry of Public Health Dr Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani said in an interview with QNA.

He announced that QF is also working on developing a test that would help in terms of determining the presence of coronavirus (COVID-19), in addition to developing potential treatment mechanisms. Furthermore, it is working in cooperation with Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) to develop an application for diagnosis and monitoring. On a question regarding quarantine that was implemented since the beginning of the crisis, the Director of Public Health revealed that about 30 hotels were equipped with the highest standards of safety for quarantine, where rooms were allocated for individual cases and for families, in addition to clinics within hotels for medical and paramedical personnel for case management, evaluation, monitoring and follow-up.

He stated that medical staff perform daily evaluation of the resident in quarantine to detect health status and measure the temperature and ensure that no pathological symptoms appear as tests are done every two days periodically to detect the virus. He also indicated that all services are provided in hotels, including internet service to allow residents to communicate with family and friends. Room service is also provided, including cleaning on a daily basis, while the hotel provides laundry and delivery services. He noted that leaving the room is forbidden if there is no necessity in order to prevent direct contact in accordance with rules of social distancing.

The Director of Public Health explained that residents in quarantine are authorized to leave after it is confirmed that they are free of the virus, depending on the clinical examination and the result of laboratory analyzes and the report by the treatment team. He said that the 14 day period is adequate for quarantine, and it is calculated starting from the last contact with an infected person. When there is a positive case of COVID-19 with clinical symptoms, the patient will be transferred to isolation hospital, he said.

With regard to the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases in Qatar, he explained that the noticeable increase is due to several reasons, including that the spread of the virus has begun to enter the peak stage (i.e. the highest wave that affects the country), which may continue to increase for a period of time before it begins to decline. It is also due to the steady increase in the efforts of the Ministry and its medical teams to track the transmission chains of coronavirus and expand the surveillance process, including of groups of contacts with people who were previously diagnosed with the disease. All of this has contributed to the early detection of many cases of infection and reduced the spread of the virus.