A top healthcare official has warned against laxity in adherence to the precautionary measures against Covid-19, noting that it can lead to more cases. “Some sections of people believe that the virus has become less dangerous. They think that the number of infected people announced daily is low. Therefore they feel negligent in adhering to the Covid-19 protocols. This must be avoided,” cautioned Dr Muna al-Maslamani, medical director, Communicable Diseases Center, Hamad Medical Corporation ( HMC).
Dr al-Maslamani noted that the risk of a second wave of the virus is a concern, especially with the increasing number of infections in many countries and several of them going back to lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. “Everyone should wear a mask in public places and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. This can help us prevent the spread of the virus,” said Dr al-Maslamani.
She said that community members have an important role to play in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 by ensuring social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands constantly with water and soap or sanitiser. “The virus will remain a health concern for some time in the future, and we are fully aware that lifting restrictions and imposed measures cannot guarantee that Covid-19 will not be transmitted. Therefore it is necessary to continue applying preventive measures to prevent an outbreak the virus,” explained Dr al-Maslamani.
Dr al-Maslamani who is also the assistant head of Infectious Disease Division, HMC, pointed out that international studies have found masks contribute to reducing the transmission of infection between people in gatherings, especially if people wear them in public transportation and crowded places. She said that wearing a mask contributes to preventing 95% of infection from an infected person and if the individual and those around him wear masks, the infection rates drop to their lowest level.
She also highlighted the importance of wearing masks in public places due to the fact that between 6 and 18% of those infected may not show any symptoms of the disease and they are able to spread the infection. If everyone, especially the asymptomatic wear masks, the chances of infection would be reduced.
She maintained that before wearing the mask, hands must be washed and people must make sure that the mask covers the nose and mouth and that it is firmly fixed under the chin, over the bridge of the nose and on both sides of the face. She also advised not to touch the front part of the mask while wearing it or removing it, and in the event of touching it, hands must be washed and sterilised immediately.
She explained that so far there is no vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 virus. “We must work together to consider the risks carefully and do not neglect the importance of preventive measures. These are life-saving practices and are necessary to protect members of society especially the most vulnerable sections of the society. Prevention is a responsibility that everyone should comply with. Parents should encourage their young children in particular to exercise caution to ensure they adhere to infection prevention practices,” added Dr al-Maslamani.