* Be extra careful during the Eid al-Fitr holidays not to visit each other, says Dr Abdullatif al-Khal
Qatar residents should celebrate Eid al-Fitr differently this year by staying home in order to avoid further spread of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19), a senior official and healthcare expert has stressed.
"Be extra careful during the Eid al-Fitr holidays not to visit each other," urged Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the National Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, on a press conference on Qatar TV.
“We are seeing many examples where the virus is spreading rapidly among members of the same family, even when they do not share a household, due to families visiting each other and socialising during Ramadan,” he pointed out.
“It is really important that you stay home and only go out when it is absolutely necessary and that you follow social and physical distancing measures.
“While the majority of Covid-19 patients experience only mild symptoms, we are seeing an increase in the number of patients with more severe symptoms.
“We all have a role to play in successfully overcoming this pandemic. We ask the public to work with the healthcare sector and play their part.
“All the staff and health workers in the public health sector have been exerting great efforts to contain the disease.
“We are still in the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak in Qatar and the cases will continue to increase before they eventually drop,” Dr al-Khal cautioned.
“The number of cases among Qataris and expatriates outside the workers' categories has also increased as some still do not abide by the precautionary and preventive measures and continue to have family gatherings such as group iftar and not limit their movement outside home,” he observed.
The average number of cases admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) jumped to 20 per day for the past week, from 14 per day during the previous week.
Women account for around 16% of the cases admitted to the ICU. There are currently 172 cases in the ICU, including 74 on ventilators.
It is encouraging that the number of patients making a full recovery from the virus is also increasing each day, in part due to the new international guidelines on the timeframe when patients are no longer contagious, meaning they can be safely discharged sooner.
Dr al-Khal stated that the Ehteraz app will play a positive role in the upcoming period to further contain the disease and curb its spread, and it is very important for the protection of all members of the society
“The Ehteraz app is a newly devised technology that will help greatly in the protection of people against infection,” he said.
The senior official pointed out that limiting the number of passengers in each vehicle will elp considerably in controlling the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Wearing facemask and limiting the practice of sports to the area around the accommodation will also help in further limiting the spread of infection
“It is hard to predict the peak of the infection as it is governed by the people's commitment to follow the precautionary and preventive measures,” he pointed out.
“Only when we see a considerable drop in the number of cases can be gradually return to normal life,” Dr al-Khal added.