The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) is planning to introduce a new equipment that can conduct more tests to diagnose the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in less time and give faster results.

“The automated system can conduct about 2,000 tests a day, with results available in a few hours," said Sheikh Dr Mohamed al-Thani, Director of Public Health, at a webinar hosted by World Innovation Summit for Health, an initiative of Qatar Foundation.

“We have completed more than 8,500 tests so far and we are the second or third highest country in the world in the number of tests that have been conducted on people for Covid-19.

"We have the proper criteria for testing people in a smart and efficient manner. With the present method of testing, the first test takes three to four hours and we cannot release the results before eight hours,” he noted.

He hoped that the with the new equipment, the results of the tests could be completed faster and most results released on the same day.

Dr Laith Abu-Raddad, professor of Healthcare Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar; Dr Mutaz Alkhatib, assistant professor, Methodology and Ethics, Research Centre for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE), Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) ; and Dr Mohamed Ghaly, professor of Islam and Biomedical Ethics, CILE, HBKU were the other participants at the webinar titled Coronavirus: The Interplay of Medical and Islamic Ethics .

Dr Abu-Raddad said that the models and guidelines for Covid-19 are given based on previous experiences and realities. “Using the previous experiences, scientists made predictions about diseases such as H1N1 that came later. Eventually these predictions were close to reality. May not be perfect but it was very close to reality especially in the case of H1N1. These models are not hypothesis or wrong ones. Then there were interventions and scientists have worked on to refine and perfect them,” he explained

He said that if people follow the social distancing practice, Covid -19 can be controlled in a big way. “If everyone reduces their contact rate by a minimum of 60%, the pandemic of Covid-19 in all likelihood will die on its own,” he added.

Dr Alkhatib discussed the ethical aspects of dealing with the disease while Dr Ghaly moderated the discussion.