Major concerns have risen over a second Covid-19 wave hitting Qatar as the country’s daily reported cases surpass 320 in the largest surge since August.
Qatar has been celebrated globally for successfully containing the spread of Covid-19 and maintaining one of the lowest fatality rates around the world; however, analysts say the country is at a critical stage in the fight against the pandemic as daily infections appear to be significantly rising.
On Thursday January 28, The Ministry of Public Health reported 347 new active cases—the highest number of daily infections in over 5 months— bringing the total number of active cases in Qatar to 4618.
This comes shortly after Doha News reported that although health officials declared that Qatar has avoided a second wave of the coronavirus, the notable rise in statistics suggests otherwise.
In December, people in Qatar breathed a sigh of relief as the ministry announced that the total number of active cases was below 2000, that number has now doubled within less than a month.
The spike in numbers can be attributed to the public’s lack of adherence to COVID-19 precautionary measures, a phenomenon experts call “caution fatigue.” Several people say the signs of carelessness towards guidelines can be traced to people’s “false belief” that Covid-19 is no longer a threat after the much anticipated vaccines started rolling out.
Although Qatar was one of the first in the region to receive the vaccine, Doha has been criticised for the “slow-pace” in which it has been administering it, managing to vaccinate barely 17,000 people in the first four weeks of the vaccination campaign.
That being said, Qatar is not the only country with delays in vaccine rollout. There has been a global shortage in Covid-19 vaccinations due to high demand and increased cases in several countries.
This caused several nations, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, to postpone some of their vaccination campaigns as they await more shipments.
Meanwhile reports suggest that Doha is set to receive more Pfizer vaccines as well as the first batch of Moderna vaccines on February 15.
There is also word that the country has signed a pre-order agreement with Johnson & Johnson to deliver their vaccination once it gets approval from European and American authorities.
The company said that it is expected to report pivotal results of a large clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine by early next week.
“We are hopeful that’s a good precursor to the kind of efficacy and safety that we’ll see in a larger population. Of course, until we see this final data, we won’t know for certain,” Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson’s chairman and chief executive, told The Wall Street Journal.