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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

‘No signs of second wave’, Qatar’s health minister says at WISH Summit

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The minister was among many prominent speakers at this year’s event.

Qatar’s Minister of Public Health, Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari said that there are no signs of a second wave of the potentially lethal coronavirus hitting the country, with the pandemic showing more stability now. She was speaking at the annual World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) on Sunday.

The opening ceremony of the fifth edition of WISH, was inaugurated by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, who commended the efforts of Qatar’s health workers who’ve been serving on the frontlines in the fight against the pandemic.

“I salute healthcare workers in Qatar and globally for their tremendous efforts in fighting this pandemic, protecting lives, and tirelessly striving to create a better, healthier world,” she said.

Echoing the same sentiment, Al Kuwari also said that the spread of COVID-19 has been “stabilised” and there have been no signs of a second wave hitting Qatar like it has in many other countries around the world.

“There have been a small number of outbreaks mostly associated with family gathering, which we have controlled with active surveillance and contact tracing,” said Dr. Al Kuwari.

The minister added that a key factor in Qatar’s success in curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic was the country’s “system of universal health coverage”.

“All costs of treatment were covered by the government, irrespective of nationality or social conditions. All patients received the same high standard of care. Our low mortality is attributable to a variety of factors, including the young average age of the population, but particularly to the high quality of medical care, provided equally to everyone,” she said.

Read also: Qatar’s COVID-19 ‘Healthcare Heroes’ honoured in new exhibition

Among the country’s many successes in managing the pandemic, has been its ability to maintain the world’s lowest COVID-19 mortality rate since the outbreak, with a rate of 0.15%. 

“Every death is a tragedy, but we are thankful that our cases, in global terms, remain low…this stands as testimony to the talent and commitment of our doctors and nurses and the entire healthcare workforce. This is also testament to our healthcare system,” said Al Kuwari.

Moreover, the country has provided 3,000 acute care beds and 227 ICU beds with extra ventilators, which have helped treat around 2,000 patients who suffered severe COVID-19 symptoms. 90% of those patients have recovered and been discharged.

According to the minister, Qatar opened 24 isolation facilities that could cater for 30,000 beds, and 609 quarantine facilities with a total capacity of 15,000 beds.

“We know we will win this battle only if everyone wins it. In solidarity, Qatar has so far helped more than 70 countries and international organizations with equipment and resources,” she said, commenting on Qatar’s global support in effort to help other countries fight the pandemic.

While  the country has managed to stabilise the spread of the pandemic and secured a deal with key pharmaceuticals working on providing a vaccine, Al Kuwari reiterated the importance of abiding by health measures as the disease still exists.

“In the meantime, we must rely on the public health measures with which we are all familiar and the dedication and professionalism of the global health workforce to keep us safe,” she said.

Source: WISH Qatar

Al Kuwari is among the many prominent speakers at this year’s event, which include Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO); Morgan Freeman, Academy Award-winning Actor and Philanthropist; Eva Longoria, Actor, Producer, Director and Philanthropist; and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases among many others.

The summit will go on virtually from Nov. 15-to-19, under the title of ‘One World Our Health’.

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