The Gulf nation has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. But do the numbers add up?
On Sunday, January 9, authorities reported 3,689 new infected cases— marking the highest reported number in the country, even when compared to the first and second wave of the pandemic. In the last two days alone, the numbers have surpassed 3,000 cases a day, in comparison to 2,000 in May of 2020.
However, the number of active cases remains lower than the beginning of the pandemic, with around 21, 968 reported as currently being infected by the coronavirus; that number reached a peak of 35,000 in May of 2022.
Despite official numbers reaching an all time high, there is doubt over their authenticity. On a daily basis, over 35,0000 tests are being conducted at clinics and hospitals across the country, with thousands more people self-testing at home; anecdotal evidence and a scan of social media users posting their positive results or red Ehteraz status suggests the actual number of active cases in Qatar to be much higher.
New Ehteraz Update
The Ministry of Public Health [MOPH] has now announced that recovered patients who have been infected in the last 12 months will be entitled to the same privileges as vaccinated people under the current COVID-19 restrictions.
This means that those who recently recovered will be able to enter malls freely, even if they are not fully vaccinated.
To prove their recovered status, individuals can show their recovered date through the new Ehteraz update.
Meanwhile, starting February 1, 2022, those who received their second dose more than 9 months ago will no longer be considered fully vaccinated and will lose their Gold Frame (immunized) status on Ehteraz.
Those who receive the booster shot will keep their Gold Frame status for a further 9 months, the ministry added.
The move comes after new medical research revealed that protective immunity from the Coronavirus begins to decline six months after the second dose of an approved vaccine. This has pushed authorities to change the vaccine validity of Covid-19 immunity from 12 months to 9 months following the second dose.
Booster approved for 12-15-year-olds
Children aged 12-15 years who received their second dose 6 months ago can now take the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot to increase their antibodies, the ministry has announced.
“The decision is in line with the recent studies that demonstrate the safety and efficacy of booster doses using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in this age group,” MOPH posted on their website.
In May 2021, the ministry approved the vaccine for the same age group, and since then, nine of out ten children in Qatar have received two doses of the vaccine.
The jabs have proved to be safe and effective for the age group, according to several studies, with only minor side effects reported.
The ministry has urged all parents to support their children in getting their booster dose to ensure their safety as cases continue to rise.