Qatar recorded its first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection on Saturday.

In a statement, the Ministry Public Health said the patient is a 36-year-old Qatari male, who returned recently from Iran. "He was evacuated from Iran on a government-chartered plane and along with all other passengers has been under full quarantine. He has been admitted to the Communicable Disease Centre and isolated under strict infection control measures. He is in a stable condition."

The statement explained that given the nature of the coronavirus and the extent of the global spread, finding a case in Qatar was expected. "The ministry has begun examining all persons closely related to the patient and implementing appropriate quarantine measures. There is currently no evidence of the spread of the virus in the country. Efforts are currently focused on examining incoming travellers at all the country's entry points," the statement stressed.

"The Ministry of Public Health is taking all measures to limit the further spread of the virus and asks the public to take caution and implement the simple protective measures by frequent washing of hands or using hand sanitiser, avoid sick people, keep social distancing and cough or sneeze into the sleeve of a flexed elbow or use a tissue which then should be discarded into a closed bin."

It also advised all those who have been in any of the countries where the virus has been reported in the last 14 days and suffer from cough and fever to come forward for testing or to call the hotline of the ministry at 16000.

The Ministry of Public Health is working closely with all partners and with the World Health Organisation to ensure the implementation of the latest guidelines and the appropriate public health measures and asks the public to regularly check the ministry's website for the latest advisories and information.

Besides seeking the co-operation of the public in implementing the public health measures, the ministry has cautioned the residents against listening to unreliable sources of information and rumours.

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