If Covid cases increase, more restrictions may be enforced
January 28 2021 10:37 PM
Dr Abdullatif al-Khal addressing the news conference on Thursday
Dr Abdullatif al-Khal addressing the news conference on Thursday


*Recent spike in cases appear to be early signs of second wave
*50,000th dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine given in Qatar
*Preventive recommendations reiterated
*First delivery of Moderna vaccines in 10 days

If the number of Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions continue to increase in Qatar over the coming week or two, additional restrictions may need to be implemented and the country will return to some of the early restriction phases, a senior official cautioned on Thursday.

The recent gradual and consistent increase in the number of new daily Covid-19 infections in Qatar appear to be the early signs of a potential second wave, Dr Abdullatif al-Khal told a news ,conference on Qatar TV while announcing a significant milestone in administering the 50,000th dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the country.

"The data over the next few days and week will tell us more," observed the chair of the National Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corp.

Across the world many countries are now experiencing second or third waves of Covid-19, which are stronger than the first waves that happened during 2020, he pointed out.

"Additionally, and of great concern, is the recent increase in both the number of people with Covid-19 in hospital and the number of people in ICU," Dr al-Khal stressed while urging it is more important than ever that people adhere to the precautionary measures to cut off the second wave before it gains momentum.

"I ask everyone to follow the preventive recommendations: Wear a mask as advised; maintain social distancing; avoid large gatherings of people; and wash your hands regularly," he said.

Referring to the 50,000th vaccine dose administered, Dr al-Khal described it as "a wonderful achievement and significant step forward knowing that many of our most vulnerable members of the community are now becoming more protected against Covid-19."

"We were clear from the outset that we only wanted to administer an internationally approved, safe and effective vaccine for the people of Qatar and while this meant that we had to start our vaccination programme after some other countries, we are confident that our decision was in the best interest of Qatar's population," Dr al-Khal added.

Moderna vaccines

Qatar expects to receive the first delivery of Moderna vaccines in the next 10 days, announced 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.

"While this will be a very limited quantity, it is an encouraging development and we can expect regular, larger deliveries of both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to arrive from early March," he told a news conference on Qatar TV on Thursday.

Qatar's Covid-19 vaccination campaign - the biggest of its kind ever to be delivered in the country, is made up of four phases throughout 2021, the official pointed out. Qatar has signed agreements with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna for Covid-19 vaccines.

"The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first of the two to be given FDA approval and Qatar received the first shipment on December 21, 2020," Dr al-Romaihi recalled. The vaccination drive with the first dose was launched two days later and the second dose is being administered from January 13, 2021.

"We have now received several shipments of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines and are due to receive weekly deliveries throughout February. From March onwards we will have significantly greater quantities of vaccines available to us and be able to greatly expand our output," the official added.


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