More than 701,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Qatar since the start of the programme, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has said.
Informing this through a statement, the MoPH on Friday also reported 602 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 during the past 24 hours, of whom 499 were from the community and 103 travellers returning from abroad, according to a Qatar News Agency (QNA) report.
The MoPH recorded 358 recoveries from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries in Qatar to 162,173.
Besides, the ministry reported the death of a 49-year-old, who had been receiving the necessary medical care.
The total number of active Covid-19 cases in the country had crossed 14,000 as of Friday, according to the daily data issued by the MoPH, standing at 14,066.
The MoPH on Friday said 22,665 Covid-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of doses given since the start of the programme to 701,943.
The pace of Covid-19 vaccination is set to further accelerate as the number of vaccinations provided per week is expected to increase to 180,000-200,000 doses, Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the National Health Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, said recently.
"Every day, hundreds of people are becoming sick due to Covid-19 with many requiring admission to hospital to manage their symptoms," the MoPH said. "Since February 1, the number of people with Covid-19 admitted to hospital has doubled.
"Qatar's strict quarantine policy for returning travellers enabled us to delay the introduction of new variants into this country for several months but we are now seeing positive Covid-19 cases in the region and in Qatar with new variants from the United Kingdom."
This new variant is much more contagious and spreads more easily between people than the existing strain and may be associated with an increased severity of the disease, the statement noted.
Dr al-Khal had said in a recent press conference that "we have also identified a number of cases of the South African variant among returning travellers". The new Covid-19 restrictions imposed in the country will help ensure that the South African variant does not enter the community and become the dominant strain, he added.
The good news is that the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines used in the country's vaccination programme are effective against the new variants, the MoPH said. "The pace of the vaccination programme means that there is finally hope of a gradual return to normal for us here in Qatar and people around the world. But this will not happen in the next few weeks or months.
"Covid-19 will continue to be a threat to our health for the majority of 2021 and, until all eligible members of our population have been vaccinated, we must continue to follow the preventive measures."
With the recent increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Qatar, it is important for everyone to play their role in controlling the virus by following precautionary measures such as adherence to physical distancing, avoiding close contact with others, crowded places and confined closed spaces where other people congregate, wearing a face mask, and washing hands regularly.
Anyone suffering from Covid-19 symptoms should contact the 16000 helpline immediately. This is important as the earlier the disease is detected, the easier it will be to receive the right treatment and recover from it.
One can visit the MoPH website for regular updates and new information.Last updated: March 26 2021 09:49 PM
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