The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday announced the intensification of precautionary and preventive measures for early monitoring of any suspected cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
In a statement, the ministry said the procedures for examining incoming travellers from different countries have been strengthened. All travellers arriving through the airport from countries where the disease has spread are sent to the airport clinic to assess their health status.
The statement noted that epidemiological surveillance activities have been strengthened, and the measures also include the isolation of suspected cases at the Communicable Disease Center of Hamad Medical Corporation, according to the QNA report. This includes 14 days of continuous health monitoring for people who have come from countries with a high prevalence of the infection to ensure that they are free of the disease and to intensify health awareness activities.
There is follow-up of developments related to the disease at the global and regional levels according to the prevalence of the infection and with the emergence of a number of confirmed cases in neighbouring countries, the statement points out.
The MoPH stressed the importance of following preventive measures such as maintaining general hygiene and washing hands with soap and water continuously. In case these are not available, sterile antiseptics can be used, especially after sneezing and coughing.
Also, people should avoid touching the eyes and nose if the hands are not clean, and also avoid direct communication with those who have respiratory symptoms. There should be constant cleaning of surfaces and the etiquette of covering the nose and mouth needs to be followed, besides reducing some social habits that may contribute to spreading infection among members of society, such as greeting by kissing the nose and shaking the hand, the ministry added.
The MoPH said while there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Qatar so far, the recommended health behaviours would enhance the prevention of the spread of colds and respiratory infections and help reduce the chances of its spread among members of society.
In a related development, the ministry has launched a page on its website, www.moph.gov.qa, dedicated to providing reliable information and data regarding the coronavirus to the population of Qatar in Arabic, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Chinese and French. This has been done to ensure that information can easily reach the largest possible audience.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 was among the important topics discussed at the 53rd session of the Arab Health Ministers' Council in which Qatar participated - represented by the MoPH.
The session was held on Thursday at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States in Cairo, Egypt. The ministry's delegation was headed by the Assistant Minister for Health Affairs at the MoPH, Dr Salih Ali al-Marri.
The meetings also discussed two working papers submitted by Qatar: the first pertaining to disaster and emergency management in the health field in the light of successive political events and 'Health in All Policies', while the second working paper dealt with the topic of replacing paper documents electronically at the Arab Health Ministers' Council conference.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the Shura Council would hold a special session to discuss a report set to be submitted by HE the Minister of Public Health, Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, on the measures taken by the MoPH to confront the threat of Covid-19 and to listen to the ministry's experts on the topic.
HE the Speaker of the Shura Council Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud requested, in a letter sent to HE Dr al-Kuwari, for a detailed report on the precautionary measures taken by the MoPH and its affiliated bodies to confront the threat of the emerging coronavirus and the necessary preventive measures taken by the ministry to reduce the risk of the disease in the short and long terms in the event it lasts for a longer period, especially with the spread of the disease in many countries, according to QNA.
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