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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Qatar passes one million milestone for COVID-19 testing


The country’s instant and accessible testing helped curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

More than 1,000,000 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus in Qatar since the global pandemic struck the Gulf state, according to official figures on Thursday.

Qatar, which boasts the lowest COVID-19 mortality rate worldwide, has ensured the provision of PCR tests for its citizens and residents in different clinics across the country, helping contain the spread of the virus.

Last month, authorities said a new diagnostic test that can quickly detect COVID-19 is expected to be introduced into Qatar’s medical sector shortly.

The antigen test is a rapid screening method performed by inserting the nose swab into a testing card after adding drops of regulator solution. Results are made available within ten minutes, unlike the regular PCR test that requires at least two days.

Read also: Doha’s swift response prevented a million extra COVID-19 cases: health official

According to Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha’s swift response to the pandemic has prevented 1 million additional cases.

“Due to the interventions we implemented, we flattened the curve to the extent that the peak number of infections was 79 percent lower than it would have been had no public health measures been taken,” said Dr. Al Khal earlier in October.

The expert also suggested the infection rate is relatively stable despite the current fluctuations, noting the spread is largely due to gatherings and people slacking on the cautionary measures in place, including mask wearing.

Qatar currently has 2707 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 232 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

More than 130,680 coronavirus patients have recovered in Qatar so far.

In March, Qatar shut down restaurants, malls, gyms and major public places and imposed limits on public and private gatherings, including weddings.

Following the success of the lockdown in July, Qatar proceeded to gradually ease its restrictions by partially reopening public places while limiting capacities as part of its four-phase plan.

Read also: It’s time authorities shift their focus to thousands stuck in entry permit limbo

The Gulf state has pumped up its efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and has recently confirmed access to the much-anticipated vaccine will be free of charge for all in the country.

Qatar’s response to the COVID-19 crisis was recently praised by the World Health Organisation which described it as a “distinct model for global emulation” for its low mortality rate.

Despite the progress, and until the vaccine is finally available, health authorities have called on residents to maintain social distancing guidelines.

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