Entry visas for travellers coming from countries affected by the Ebola virus disease remain suspended until the health situation improves there, a senior Supreme Council of Health (SCH) official said yesterday.

Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, director of the Public Health Department at SCH, said travellers from Qatar to such countries were given adequate instruction on how to stay safe and protect against Ebola virus.

Addressing a workshop organised by the SCH on “preparations for epidemics and health conditions for Haj” yesterday,  Dr Mohamed noted that the council - in co-ordination with the Ministry of Interior - had adopted a strict “protective strategy” in view of the threat posed by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Qatar Airways does not have any scheduled flights to the affected countries except Nigeria which has reported a limited number of cases, it was observed.

The workshop, which saw the participation of around 350 healthcare providers and representatives of entities concerned in the country, was attended by officials from the Hamad Medical Corporation, the Primary Health Care Corporation, Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar Red Crescent and Qatar’s Haj Mission.

Besides providing  information about travelling to and from countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, the workshop dealt with the best ways to spread awareness among those who would travel for the Haj and  various vaccinations introduced this year by Qatar for pilgrims and travellers. It also featured an explanation of the plans for the Haj.

 Dr Mohamed stressed that the workshop was a crucial event, particularly in view of the Ebola outbreak as well as the coronavirus factor. He said effective co-operation among all stakeholders would help protect the society from the risks posed by such diseases.

Dr Mohamed al-Hajri, director of Health Protection and Communicable Diseases Control in the SCH Public Health Department, said the event included two sub-workshops - preparation for the Haj and the latest updates on the prevention of communicable diseases.

He said there was effective internal co-ordination among various government entities to control the spread of Ebola virus and detect any potential cases through the various thermal cameras installed at HIA.

Meanwhile, Dr Mishal al-Misfri, deputy head of the Haj medical committee, has said preparation for the Haj season had started almost four months ago. The medical committee is made up of 25 members, including 11 consultant doctors in addition to nurses, paramedics and medical supplies professionals.

Further, a contract has been signed with a Saudi hospital which is close to the committee’s office.

Dr Hamad Eid al-Rumaihi, head of the Communicable Diseases Control Department, advised pilgrims to take all the scheduled vaccinations at their respective primary health care centres four weeks ahead of the journey.


Related Story