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Dr Al Khal: The strict travel policy helped Qatar to delay Delta entry

The next three weeks will be crucial for Qatar as many people return to the country following the summer vacation. The country is preparing very hard for preventing the entry of Delta strain to Qatar and decreasing the COVID-19 cases due to the sudden flow of people to the country.

Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation and Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 spoke about the matter at stake. “Considering this potential risk presented by returning travellers, it is risky to move to the full Phase 4,” he said.

In a recent interview posted in the Twitter account of the Ministry of Public Health (MPOH), Dr Khal talked about the impact of Delta strain in Covid-19 rates of the country, easing the restrictions and the progress of the vaccination in the nation. He told that the further changes will result in the easing of certain restrictions throughout August.

“The good news is that the vaccines we are administering in Qatar are highly effective at preventing infection and severe disease due to the Delta strain. Almost all patients admitted to hospital wards or the intensive care are either not vaccinated or have only had one dose,” said Dr Al Khal.

Covid-19 results were relatively low in the past few weeks. dr Khal thanked the community’s overwhelming response to the nation’s vaccination program and adherence to the restrictions.

“There has been a slight increase in COVID-19 cases following the recent Eid holiday, but this minimal increase was expected. We are all eager to get back toward normal as soon as possible, but what is most important is that we do not rush this process and jeopardize all the achievements we have made to get to where we are now,” said Dr Al Khal.

Dr Al Khal said; “Our strict travel and return policy helped to delay the entry of the Delta strain into Qatar but it has recently begun circulating in our community. The Delta strain is a much more contagious strain of the virus than the strains we had previously seen in Qatar and causes more severe infection.”

“Vaccination not only protects the person from falling sick, but it also helps to protect other people around you as the vaccine reduces the ability to transmit the virus to other people. Since the launch of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program the community’s response has been very encouraging. Among our eligible population — 12 years and over —85% of people have received at least one dose and we continue to administer more than 20,000 doses a day on average,” said Dr Al Khal

“This is a very encouraging vaccination rate and the more people that are vaccinated and protected from the virus, the safer our community will be and the faster we will return towards normal life,” Dr Al Khal said.

He also talked about the small minority of the community who are not ready to participate in Qatar’s vaccination programs. “If you are one of these people, I ask you to please take the matter seriously as the new Delta strain is more contagious and virulent and to please play your part in beating the COVID-19 epidemic and helping the community return towards normal life as soon as possible.”

He urged that it is very important that the Elderly and pregnant women should definitely take the vaccination.

“9 out of 10 people over 65 years have been vaccinated but older people remain those most at risk of severe disease due to COVID-19, so it is important that every single one of our elderly population is fully vaccinated.”
“Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 compared with women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, so it is very important for pregnant women to get the vaccine. Around the world, hundreds of thousands of pregnant women have been vaccinated and no notable safety concerns have been identified.”

He asked the people who are fully vaccinated to wear masks in the public in their households if they have guests “This will help them significantly reduce their risk of catching the new Delta strain of the virus and keep them and their loved ones safe,” said Dr Al Khal.










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