* 'We expect to be living with Covid-19 to some degree for some time to come'
Creating a 'safe zone' in the house for elderly relatives is an important action that people can take to protect this vulnerable section of society from Covid-19, a senior health official has said.
Addressing a press conference organised by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday, Dr Hamad al-Romaihi, director of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control at the Public Health Department and co-chair of the National Pandemic Preparation Committee, stressed that "we expect to be living with Covid-19 to some degree for some time to come".
"Only when a reliable vaccine becomes available can we confidently believe the threat of Covid-19 is passed," he said. "If people adhere to preventive measures, we can expect to keep the virus under control but total eradication is unlikely in the near future - therefore, we must learn to live with the virus and find ways to protect our most at-risk groups."
"Creating a 'safe zone' in the house for elderly relatives is an important action that you can take," he noted.
The 'safe zone' will be a designated area of the house for these at-risk people. Anyone who enters this zone must wash their hands, wear a mask and maintain physical distancing.
People should thoroughly sanitise the 'safe zone' and keep it as clean as possible
"Keep the number of people who visit and interact with elderly relatives and those with chronic conditions to a minimum. This small group of people should ensure they follow preventive advice at all times to minimise their risk of contracting the virus and passing it onto the vulnerable family member," Dr al-Romaihi suggested.
These people should isolate themselves at the first sign of any symptoms and get a test, he added.
"We have given up a lot of our normal daily lives throughout our fight against Covid-19 and our sacrifice has been rewarded with the decline of the virus - but the battle is not yet won and we must continue to do everything that we can until Covid-19 is no longer a threat to our community," the official noted.