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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Qatar’s daily Covid-19 infections drop amid tighter restrictions, vaccines rollout


Health officials have confirmed that Qatar’s restrictions and vaccine campaign have contributed to the decline in daily Covid-19 cases.

Senior health officials at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) have confirmed that daily Covid-19 cases in Qatar have witnessed a steady decline thanks to current restrictions as well as the rapid pace of the national vaccination programme.

“All the measures against Covid-19 have led to a significant decrease in the number of people with Covid-19 in hospital. We continue to impose restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. With a new threat of the emerging Indian variant, Qatar has also introduced mandatory quarantine for travellers returning from some specific countries,” said head of vaccination at the MoPH Dr Soha al-Bayat during an interview with Qatar TV.

The month of April recorded a peak in daily infections, with 989 recorded on April 15, the highest number this year so far. In the same month, Qatar surpassed more than 20,000 active cases – the highest since the pandemic first emerged last year.

However, cases have been steadily decreasing since restrictions were imposed ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Despite the welcome decline in daily cases, the number of deaths have remained at a consistently alarming rate.

Al-Bayat said more than 1.5 million doses of vaccines have also been administered since the start of the vaccination campaign in December. Almost 44% of the adult population in Qatar has now had at least one dose of the vaccine, with more than half a million receiving both doses of the jab.

According to MoPH, more than 160,000 doses are given weekly.

Since January, 12,249 people have been hospitalised though only 197 of these admissions included those who were fully vaccinated – making up just 1.6% of hospital inpatient admissions since the beginning of the year.

Data has shown that out of 1,766 Covid-19 admissions to the ICU since January, only 19 intensive care patients were previously fully vaccinated, a mere 1% of ICU admissions.

Read also: No Covid-19 related deaths among fully vaccinated people in Qatar: HMC

“In fact, non-vaccinated people of all ages in Qatar are 91 times more likely to be admitted to ICU with Covid-19 than fully vaccinated people,” said al-Bayat.

According to the health official, both drive-through vaccination centres have welcomed more than 170,000 people since opening.

The eligibility policy for the drive-through vaccination centres have also been adjusted to improve the experience. Now, only those getting their first dose at Qatar National Convention Centre will be eligible for their second dose at the Lusail and Al Wakra drive-through centres.

Those who receive their first dose at a primary health centre will be booked for a second dose appointment at the same health centre.

Data has also revealed that nine out of ten people over 60 years of age have now received at least one dose.

Al-Bayat also encouraged eligible citizens and residents to get vaccinated even during Ramadan.

“Receiving the Covid-19 vaccine during the holy month of Ramadan does not break a person’s fast because the vaccine is administered intramuscularly, and it is not nutritious. People should not delay their vaccination appointments during Ramadan,” added the head of vaccination.

The official also cautioned vaccinated people to continue taking necessary precautions as the vaccines aren’t 100% effective, and that there is still a 5% chance that vaccinated people can get re-infected and become sick.

“It is still too early to be sure whether we have overcome the second wave of the pandemic but if we all continue to adhere to the restrictions and follow the preventive measures, we will see a persistent fall in the number of cases. We will ease the current restrictions only when we are sure that the threat of the disease has subsided,” noted al-Bayat.

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