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Saturday, January 22, 2022

27 health centres back to full operation; virtual consultations still an option


Authorities updated travel policies earlier this month and slashed Covid-19 PCR prices. 

Qatar’s health authorities have kicked off Phase 4 of its ‘Back to Normal’ plan, allowing 27 health centres to fully operate amid a significant dip in Covid-19 cases.

27 out of 28 Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) ‘s centres will now fully operate and deliver healthcare services, in addition to face-to-face consultations if requested, the institution has announced.

“With the exception of the Rawdat Al Khail Health Centre, which will remain as a COVID-19 dedicated Health Center,” said Dr Samya Abdulla, Executive Director of Operations.

“All other PHCC Health Centers have now fully restored their on-site health care services, including face-to-face visits with scheduled appointments if requested by patients, but they will continue to offer virtual consultations to those patients who prefer that type of appointment.”

One healthcare centre, Rawdat Al Khail, will continue as a dedicated Covid-19 facility to ensure adequate care is provided to those who need it until it resumes all other speciality services at a later date, via a separate pathway.

Currently, the centre provides 24-hour urgent care for virus-related visits and is equipped with all necessary protection.

Meanwhile, the Community Call Center, 16000, will continue normal operations through telephone and video consultations per usual. Dental and SMART clinic services within Health Centers will also now resume with full capacity, authorities added.

Covid-19′ Drive Thru’ swabbing services will also continue to operate at Health Centers until further notice.

Qatar now has under 1,000 active Covid-19 cases

The latest announcement comes as health authorities in Qatar confirmed that over 82.9% of the country’s total population have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, marking a significant milestone in the country’s rapidly expanding immunisation campaign.

The country has also seen a significant dip in Covid-19 cases, reporting only 966 current active cases, the lowest since April 2020 when the pandemic hit the country. According to ministry figures, the total number of people currently under acute hospital care is also less than 50.

The recent numbers could be a positive indication that the Gulf nation has finally controlled the spread of the virus as it moves towards further easing restrictions.

Earlier this month, authorities announced masks are now deemed non-mandatory outdoors except in specific locations. Souqs, malls, schools and workplaces are now operating at a 100% capacity, and Shisha is now permitted in certain areas.

Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health [MoPH] has also updated travel policies.

That included an update of the categorisation of countries in the Green and Red lists, removing the yellow list entirely and introducing a secondary Exceptional Red Countries list instead.

Per the new regulations, Qatar’s citizens and residents who are fully vaccinated and returning from green-listed countries are no longer required to take a PCR test before departing the country. However, they will be required to take the test within 36 hours of their arrival in Doha.

Vaccinated visitors travelling from green countries are not required to quarantine.

The MoPH also reduced the price of PCR tests from QAR 300 to QAR 160.

Qatar also updated the list of approved doses, adding Sinovac and Sputnik vaccines to its list, which already included Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

“The purpose of these changes is to ease the process of travel and return to the State of Qatar in light of the noticeable decrease in Covid-19 positive cases in recent times, with full commitment to prevention measures,” said the MoPH in a statement.

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