Posted on March 27, 2020

The majority of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in Qatar are between the age group of 20 to 40, and 18 people are in intensive care, it was announced on Thursday at a press conference.

"Most of the diagnosed cases are still subject to isolation and treatment," explained Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the Infectious Diseases Division and the Communicable Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). Dr al-Khal divided the Covid-19 cases into three groups: the first group with mild or no symptoms are isolated so that the virus does not spread to other individuals. They are monitored by the medical and nursing staff until the recovery phase is complete. Periodic laboratory tests are performed and often after two to three weeks, the tests become negative.

The second group is for severe cases, which often have inflammation of the lower respiratory tract (lungs) and are isolated and hospitalised and given a set of drugs to reduce the severity of inflammation. "The third group is for those who need intensive care, and they will be given a larger set of drugs and put on a ventilator for several days to help their immune system to overcome the virus, and then gradual improvement will be noticed," al-Khal pointed out. The HMC official confirmed that there is no scientific evidence that administering medications used in hospitals prevents infection with the virus, and advised to avoid such drugs because of their side effects. He stressed the importance of social distancing between members of society even in the same house and that each individual is obligated to stay in his room as much as possible to reduce the spread of the virus in the community.

Dr al-Khal noted that the State has played its full role in providing all arrangements, taking all decisions, applying all procedures, and publishing all instructions to reduce gatherings and limit the spread of the disease. He expressed his concern over the potential increase of cases who need intensive care, especially those who suffer from diabetes, heart, kidney, and lung diseases, and those who take immunosuppressive drugs and the elderly, stressing the need to protect this group and advised them to stay at home. Dr al-Khal emphasised that there is no relation between infection with the virus and age, as the disease may be severe for youth as well.

As for the signs of recovery, he explained that for those with severe symptoms, the signs of recovery are low temperature, less coughing, easier breathing, and a laboratory examination of respiratory secretions shifting from positive to negative.