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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

PHCC halts Covid-19 PCR tests for travellers


Only private centres in Qatar can conduct PCR tests for travellers. 

The Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC) has stopped all Covid-19 PCR swabs for people who planning to travel abroad, a health official said on Sunday. 

PHCC health centres will no longer be conducting PCR tests for travellers, Dr. Nasser Ali Al Ansari, Consulted Microbiologist and Chair of Infection Control in Al Wakra said, in a move designed to alleviate pressure amid an increase in Covid-19 cases.

This is temporary and will be reviewed once the pressure is eased, the health official said, directing those wishing to get tested for travel purposes towards private health clinics.

On Sunday, Qatar recorded 876 positive new cases, bumping the total number of active infections up to 17,169. Just a day earlier, the Covid-19 death toll surpassed 300.

Qatar, which has maintained the world’s lowest coronavirus mortality rate, has been recording more weekly deaths as the UK strain continues to spread in the Gulf state.

According to official health ministry figures, eight people died from the novel coronavirus in December. The number decreased to three in January before shooting up to 10 in February, including an 11-year-old child. In March, 33 people succumbed to the virus.

Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Hamad Medical Corporation and Chairman of the National Pandemic Preparedness Committee, announced last month that despite best efforts, the UK strain entered the country and has caused the latest surge in cases.

The nation’s inoculation drive, first launched in December, has in recent weeks been ramped up by health authorities responding to the sharp surge in the number of infections.

Last week, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health [MOPH] lowered the age threshold for Covid-19 vaccines to 40.

Read also: How to protect yourself against ‘the more deadly’ UK strain

“In this second wave of the virus the healthcare system is now seeing more younger people becoming sick and needing medical care. Lowering the age limit to 40 years will enable this age group to get vaccinated and reduce their risk,” the ministry said in a statement.

So far, more than 910,851 doses have been administered in Qatar since the start of the vaccination campaign.

The Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on Covid-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal said Qatar aims to vaccinate 90% of the population by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, authorities announced resumption of some stricter precautionary measures with the aim to curb the virus.

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