Qatar is not witnessing a second wave of the coronavirus infection, a top healthcare expert said on Thursday, citing the available data and a very low reproduction rate of the virus.
Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, Hamad Medical Corporation’s deputy chief medical officer and chairman of the National Pandemic Preparedness Committee was addressing Texas A&M University at Qatar’s (Tamuq) Al Maerifa Public Seminar Series via Zoom.
Reiterating that Qatar is making efforts to make Covid-19 vaccine available in the country at the earliest, he pointed out negotiations are on with various manufacturers in order to make the vaccine in optimum quantity.
"If everything pans out as expected, the vaccine will be available by the end of this year or the beginning of next. The entire population could be administered the vaccine by the mid or end of 2021 as the vaccine will be available in limited quantity (in the initial months),” he said.
Dr al-Khal, while giving a presentation on “Qatar's Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned,” gave a brief description of the status of the epidemic and explained the measures taken to contain the crisis. “Qatar is preparing again and again to combat Covid-19,” he said adding that several lessons were learnt while dealing with the pandemic.
“Being prepared does help and we are more prepared to deal with the pandemics and disasters than ever before. There is so much good out there like solidarity and the pandemic made us more caring for each other,” he said.
Dr al-Khal was all praise for the ministries and health workers and explained that all ministries had something to offer to fight the pandemic and volunteers are key in combating it.
"We developed much better communication channels,” he said referring to the improvement of the healthcare system. “The whole health system and academia worked in unison as one body and we learned how innovative we can be."
“Covid-19 mortality rate in Qatar has been 10 fold lower than that of the global average. In Qatar, the mortality rate among patients in ICU is much lower than in other countries,” Dr al-Khal added.
HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, who also spoke during the event, praised the efforts by the Ministry of Public Health to fight Covid-19.