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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Qatar mulls full lockdown to halt second Covid-19 wave: official


New Covid-19 variants are spreading more among children and a continuous surge in cases could lead to a full lockdown, a health official says.

The second Covid-19 wave in Qatar is targeting an increased number of children below the age of 14, a Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) official said on Monday, suggesting a full lockdown could be considered to curb the spread of the virus.

“We did not witness such numbers at the peak of the first wave,” Dr. Ahmed Mohammed, Acting Chairman of HMC’s Intensive Care Units said, referring to statistics for Covid-19 and children.

Speaking on Al Rayyan TV, the doctor said the intensity of the second wave could soon see yet more precautionary measures imposed if required, including a full lockdown for a period of two to three weeks. This would help slow down the number of daily active cases across the country, he said. 

A full lockdown is “the best approach to stop the spread of the virus. If people continue to mix and attend work as normal, as well as events, exhibitions and social gatherings – this will make an already infectious virus spread in a drastic manner,” he said.

“To put this into perspective, at the peak of the first wave in May 2020, we had around 220 patients in intensive care. It is clear that people are becoming sicker and experiencing more severe symptoms in this second wave of the virus,” he added. 

The health official also said laboratory tests confirm the presence of new variants in Qatar, which he said may have entered the country through travellers, transit, or even during peak hours at Hamad International Airport.

Dr. Mohammed also stressed that the applied methods of treatment for all Covid-19 variants are the same with no difference in terms of efficacy. However, he urged people who experience severe symptoms to rush to hospitals immediately to acquire the necessary treatment. A quicker response helps in speeding up the recovery process.

Read also: ‘Highly infectious’ UK variant to blame for rise in Covid-19 cases 

“It is of utmost importance for people to abide by the preventive and precautionary measures at all times, as no country in the world can now be deemed immune against the spread of the variants due to global connectivity,” he added.

This comes as Qatar expands and accelerates its nationwide inoculation drive, which has so far seen a total of 765,110 vaccines administered.

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