Dr Abdul Latif Al Khal, Chair of the National Strategic Group on Coronavirus and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) said that more social distancing is required to flatten the curve of coronavirus in Qatar. Dr Al Khal delivered a lecture on ‘COVID-19 Epidemic in Qatar: Reality, Confrontation and Containment Strategy’ on 10th May 2020 at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies.
“The social distancing measured by the Google Mobility report suggested that the social distancing situation in Qatar improved in the beginning then less adherence to the social distance was recorded at retail and recreation facilities like supermarkets and shopping complexes. The adherence rate of maintaining social distance in Qatar is not enough, we advise people to adhere strictly to the social distancing as long as the coronavirus exists in the community,” said Dr Al Khal.
He said that first reading was taken on 29th March 2020 and the latest one on 2nd May 2020 from a number of places including retail & recreation, groceries & pharmacies, workplaces and residential areas.
“The recommended state measures like social distancing, adhering to wearing face masks while going out, cleaning hands frequently, suspending visits will help to flatten the curve,” said Dr Al Khal.
Regarding the low rate of mortality in coronavirus patients, he said that Qatar provided high-level intensive care services to the patients of coronavirus with the help of qualified medical cadres who serve the patients like family members.
“Qatar conducted intensified early detection screening of coronavirus resulting in revealing many cases which did not show any symptom. The screening was conducted randomly and the contacts of the positive cases,” said Dr Al Khal.
Speaking about the time-frame of returning to normal life, he said that the World Health Organization recommended not to hurry in restoring normalcy because it could cause the second wave of infection.
“The life will return to normal gradually in several phases. The beginning of phase 1 depends on the extent of the spread of the virus in the community, for example, the infection rate which requires one per cent, stability for two to four weeks and a number other health factors,” said Dr Al Khal.
Regarding vaccination against coronavirus, Dr Al Khal said that about 8 types of vaccinations are under experiments all over the world and the results of these tests will come soon.