* About 30 hotels used for quarantine purpose
* Internet, room service provided at hotels, including cleaning on a daily basis
* Noticeable increase in positive cases due to several reasons: the spread of the virus has begun to enter the peak stage, steady increase in the efforts of the MoPH and its medical teams to track the transmission chains and expand the surveillance process

Licensed practitioners in the private sector were recently allowed to work in treatment institutions in the government sector in order to strengthen the medical and paramedical staff in the face of the coronavirus and provide more and faster medical and nursing services.

This was revealed by Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, director of Public Health at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), during an interview with the official Qatar News Agency.

This is among the proactive steps being taken in the State under the prevailing circumstances, the others including equipping five hospitals to treat coronavirus patients and increasing the number of primary healthcare centres to four centres to carry out the necessary tests to examine and keep suspected cases, in addition to preparing a medical isolation hospital in Umm Salal with a capacity of 12,500 beds, he observed.

The official also noted that some 30 hotels featuring the highest safety standards were allocated for quarantine purposes since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.

Rooms were allocated for individual cases as well as families, in addition to clinics within hotels for medical and paramedical personnel for case management, evaluation, monitoring and follow-up, Sheikh Dr Mohamed said.

He stated medical staff perform a daily evaluation of those in quarantine to detect their health status, measure the body temperature and ensure that no pathological symptoms appear as tests are done every two days to detect the virus.

He also indicated that all services are provided in hotels, including the Internet, to allow residents to communicate with family and friends. Room service is also provided, including cleaning on a daily basis, while the hotel provides laundry and delivery services.

He noted that leaving the room is forbidden if there is no necessity in order to prevent direct contact, in accordance with the rules of social distancing.

The director of Public Health explained that those in quarantine are authorised to leave after it is confirmed that they are free from the virus, depending on the clinical examination, the result of laboratory analysis and the report of the treatment team.

He said the 14-day period is adequate for quarantine, and it is calculated starting from the time of the last contact with an infected person. When there is a positive case of Covid-19 with clinical symptoms, the patient will be transferred to an isolation hospital, he added.

Regarding the increasing number of positive Covid-19 cases in Qatar, the official explained that the noticeable increase is due to several reasons. One of these is that the spread of the virus has begun to enter the peak stage (i.e. the highest wave that affects a country), which may continue to increase for a period of time before it begins to decline.

It is also due to the steady increase in the efforts of the MoPH and its medical teams to track the transmission chains of coronavirus and expand the surveillance process, including that of groups of contacts with people who were previously diagnosed with the disease.

All of these factors have contributed to the early detection of many cases of infection and reduced the spread of the virus.

Sheikh Dr Mohamed also talked about the efforts made by various sectors in the country to combat Covid-19, saying that all governmental and non-governmental sectors as well as civil society organisations have adhered to the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, as well as the national executive plan and instructions of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management to fight the virus.

He noted that everyone has realised from the beginning that the problem of Covid-19 is not limited to medical and health solutions provided by the MoPH and that this crisis cannot be managed individually. This epidemiological situation needs a collective approach that guarantees co-operation and combined efforts between various sectors in the country in order to respond appropriately and rapidly to this new threat, he said, adding that this has been done through “outstanding co-operation” with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

He pointed out that all ministries have participated in this collective approach, along with health, academic and research institutions as well as civil society organisations and the private sector in order to find the best ways to reduce the social and economic impact of this pandemic.

Responding to a question on the ministry’s plans to handle the spread of Covid-19, Sheikh Dr Mohamed said the goal of addressing this pandemic is not only to slow the spread of the virus to reduce the number of infected people and reduce its burden on the health system, but the main objective from the beginning has been to prevent an ascendant curve as much as possible.

“We have faced a serious challenge since the end of February after the Qatari citizens were evacuated from Iran, in addition to the return of citizens from the affected countries to Qatar, which contributed to an increase in the number of infections and a rise in the number of new cases,” he said.

On the medical teams' current handling of the coronavirus crisis, he said due to the State's keenness on the right of everyone to health, including providing the necessary medical care for them as well as the necessary supplies and equipment, the MoPH accelerated the provision of medical, nursing and technical cadres and employed additional physicians to support the medical and nursing staff assigned to work in the field to respond to the outbreak.

He added that the health cadres have been trained and qualified remotely by WHO experts, pointing out that quality and performance indicators have been developed to measure the readiness of the hospital system in the country, which is monitored through periodic reports.

He also referred to the launch of the ‘For Qatar’ campaign by the Moph with the aim of attracting volunteers to help reduce the spread of the pandemic. The volunteers have been trained at the Education City Student Center (Multaqa), Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, and they have embarked on their volunteering work with enthusiasm.

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