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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Health official advises against non-urgent travel despite drop in cases


The number of daily reported cases has been drastically decreasing in Qatar since strict regulations were reinforced. 

Members of Qatar’s community should refrain from travelling abroad at this stage unless absolutely necessary, a top health official advised.

In comments made to Qatar TV, Medical director of Hamad General Hospital Dr. Yousef al-Maslamani said although numbers are decreasing in Qatar, it will only be considered safe once at least 80-90% of the total population has been fully vaccinated.

This is expected by the end of the year.

Data from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) shows more than 2,329,338 vaccines have been administered across the country so far.

To date, over 54.7% of the eligible population have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 89.5% of those aged 60 or more. 84% of the most vulnerable group have received both doses.

The availability of more vaccines as well as the opening of more vaccination centres has allowed Qatar to exponentially ramp up its national vaccination campaign and take a step closer towards returning to normality.

Dr al-Maslamani assured that the vaccines being used in Qatar – Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech – have proven effective against all the mutated strains of Covid-19 known so far. Recent reports show that the Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective at stopping the symptomatic disease from the Indian variant 14 days after the second dose.

The vaccination could also prevent certain diseases from spreading due to weakened immunity during infection.

In the past weeks, several countries around the world, including India, have seen a rise in mucormycosis, also known as “Black Fungus”.

The black fungal is an infection that causes blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood. The infection, which spreads through the respiratory tract and erodes facial structures, has a mortality rate of 54 percent, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fortunately, Black Fungus is not contagious and cannot therefore spread through human contact.

Though the fungal disease can affect anyone and is unlinked to Covid-19, Dr al-Maslamani said it would have more severe effects on those with weak immunity as a result of several medical conditions, including being Covid-19 positive.

“Black Fungus is linked to a weakened immunity. Anyone with a weakened immune system, regardless of Covid-19, can contract an infection. Likewise, one with a strong immune system can avoid it,” Dr Al-Maslamani said.

Read also: Qatar breaks own record with over 40,000 vaccinations in one day.

In Qatar, the number of daily Covid-19 cases have been slowly decreasing, with the ministry reporting 299 new cases on Monday, a drastic drop from the peak of the 989 daily count in April.

The recent statistics reveal how health authorities have managed to successfully contain the second wave of the virus, in large due to the speeding up of the vaccination campaign as well as the reinforcing of strict restrictions in early April.

As a next step, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) last week approved emergency use of the Pfzer vaccine for 12 to 15 year-old children.

This came a week after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s request for the emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccine on kids aged twelve and above.

Studies proved safety of vaccines for adolescents, with results showing no symptomatic infections among vaccinated children among the aforementioned age range.

According to the findings, the shot appeared to be extremely effective on kids. Pfizer said children produced “strong antibodies” and experienced no serious side effects.

Those who have received both doses of the vaccine are 61 times less likely to require hospitalisation if infected by the virus, and 91 times less likely to require intensive care.

There have been no Covid-19 related deaths among fully vaccinated people so far.

In the past 24 hours, Qatar reported 3 coronavirus deaths, a drop in mortality numbers from the previous day.

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