Qatar has taken all precautions against the coronavirus that started in Chinese city of Wuhan and there is no need for any panic, a top official of Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) assured Sunday.
“We would like to assure the people that all protocols are in place to face any situation. We do not have any suspicious case reported until now,” Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, director, Public Health Department, MoPH told the media.Last updated: January 26 2020 11:43 PM
“We are positive about the situation. Although such cases are being reported from China and a few other countries, the fatality rate is only 3% which is very low compared to 33% of Mers-CoV or Sars which was at 10%,” he explained.
Dr Mohamed said Qatar is closely watching the developments in the Chinese city and is in frequent touch with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“So far, WHO has not announced it as a Public Health Event of International Concern. Both WHO and China are still debating on the fallout of the virus and WHO has given a few more days to find out if China can control it or not. I think China is putting in a lot of efforts. It will be clear in the coming week,” the official said.
"In Qatar, the pandemic preparedness committee has met to ensure that we align all the protocols. At Hamad International Airport (HIA), hundreds of passengers (from China) are screened with thermal cameras daily. Messages are given on the planes. We are also educating everyone if any suspicious case is discovered, they should immediately report to us,” he continued.
Dr Mohamed said that over 90% of Chinese people travelling through HIA are on transit. “We want to ensure that they travel safely to their final destination. We have made arrangements that if any suspicious cases are detected, they will immediately be taken to the Communicable Disease Center (CDC). We ensure that any case will be treated in a special ward if such a situation comes up,” he noted.
The official also pointed out that the deaths outside China due to the virus are very few. "The CDC is well prepared for any eventuality. It is not the first time. We have worked with Mers-COV situation which was more risky. We have experienced H1N1 some ten years ago. We are well trained and we keep updating our information. We take any case seriously in Qatar. We would like to assure the people that there is no need for panic,” he added.