Posted on March 06, 2020

Ministry of Public Heakth (MoPH) has released comprehensive information about COVID 2019.

Here are all the things you need to know:

What is coronavirus disease (covid-19)?

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that was fi­rst identifi­ed in Wuhan, Hebei Province, China. The majority of cases have been reported in China, with a cluster of cases also reported in other countries. According to the updated clinical and epidemiological features of the emerging virus, COVID-19 is likely to have originated in animals, and the transmission from person to person has been reported. People with COVID-19 experience course of illness that generally range from mild to moderate symptoms. Severe symptoms and complications, or even death, may occur in people who suffer chronic diseases and lowered immunity.

What are the signs and symptoms of coronavirus disease (covid-19)?

Common signs of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or dif­culty breathing. As the virus becomes more severe, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. If you experience these symptoms AND you have travelled to China or other affected countries in the last 14 days you should go to your nearest healthcare facility immediately or call the national COVID-19 hotline on 16000 for further assistance.

How is coronavirus disease (covid-19) transmitted?

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through contact with an infected person through respiratory droplets generated when a person, for example, coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. It is important that everyone practices good respiratory hygiene. For example, sneeze or cough into a fl­exed elbow, or use a tissue and discard it immediately into a closed bin. It is also very important for people to wash their hands regularly with either alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

How to protect yourself and others from infection?

Follow these good practices:

Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available and if your hands are not visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Contact your nearest health care provider if you have fever and either cough or difficulty breathing, along with a history of travel to China or other affected countries. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use your fl­exed elbow. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, and immediately practice hand hygiene.

Things to avoid:

Avoid close contact with people who have travelled from the areas experiencing an outbreak or those who show cold or ­flu-like symptoms. Avoid eating or drinking uncooked animal products, including raw meat, eggs and milk.

Should I wear a mask in public to protect myself from coronavirus disease (covid-19)?

Wearing a medical mask can help limit the spread of some respiratory diseases. However, the Ministry of Public Health does not currently advise people to wear a mask to reduce their risk of COVID-19. A facemask should only be worn if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms of the virus. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.

Should I call 999 for information or medical assistance for coronavirus disease (covid-19)?

No. The 999 number is for medical emergencies requiring immediate medical attention and transfer to an emergency department. The Ambulance Service’s Medical Dispatchers receive hundreds of 999 calls each day from members of the public with urgent medical conditions and the 999 number must be prioritized for these life-threatening situations. For all questions and enquiries related to COVID-19, members of the public should call the Ministry of Public 999 Health’s dedicated hotline on 16000.

What steps has Qatar taken to date to protect the population from coronavirus disease (covid-19)?

  • Robust thermal screening procedures at Hamad International Airport and seaports for passengers entering Doha from all countries. The screening helps to identify passengers with fever, one of the common symptoms of COVID-19.
  • A special clinic at Hamad International Airport to conduct interviews and examinations of all suspected travellers at the airport.
  • The Ministry of Public Health has established residential accommodation for those people who meet the quarantine standards. Additional training for healthcare workers and the strengthening of infection prevention and control, and laboratory procedures have all been prioritized.
  • A community awareness campaign has been delivered featuring a dedicated national website, TV and radio interviews with medical experts, regular social media messaging, and newspaper coverage. These activities have included Arabic, English, Hindi, Malayalam, French and Chinese languages.
  • Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control teams have been engaged in regular active surveillance visits to hospitals and Intensive Care Units to ensure that no suspected cases of respiratory infections are missed in accordance with the WHO.

How prepared is Qatar’s health sector to deal with a potential outbreak of covid-19?

Qatar’s healthcare sector is strongly prepared to manage a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in the country. HMC’s Ambulance Service staff have been fully trained to safely transfer and manage patients with this type of communicable virus, while preventing further spread. The Ambulance Service has the necessary vehicles and protective equipment to manage patients with COVID-19.

Any patient with suspected COVID-19 is taken to HMC’s Communicable Disease Center for treatment and monitoring while the test is carried out. The Communicable Disease Center is purpose-built to manage patients with this type of condition and ensure that the virus is not spread to other people within the hospital or outside. Healthcare workers across the country have been specifi­cally trained to manage any potential outbreak and efforts to strengthen infection prevention and control, case management and laboratory procedures have been prioritized. Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been planned as a contingency.

MoPH has set up a dedicated call center to answer all questions and enquiries related to COVID-19. Public and health professionals can call 24x7 on 16000 hotline for enquiries.

source: The Peninsula