Officials say Qatar has seen a significant increase in patients needing intensive care due to Covid-19, surpassing last year’s peak.
More people are in Intensive Care Units (ICU) now than during the peak of the first Covid-19 wave in May last year, officials at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) revealed.
“Since the middle of March, the number of people receiving life-saving medical treatment in our intensive care units has more than doubled and we now have more than 280 people with Covid-19 in intensive care,” said acting chairman of HMC’s ICU Dr Ahmed Al- Mohamed on Al Rayyan TV.
“To put this into perspective, at the peak of the first wave in May 2020, we had around 220 patients in intensive care. It is clear that people are becoming sicker and experiencing more severe symptoms in this second wave of the virus.
“In the past two weeks alone, we have seen an 82% increase in the number of people infected with the virus in ICU,” he added. Some 40% of the cases in intensive care during the current wave are under the age of 50.
The UK Covid-19 variant has been a significant factor in the recent increase in people needing intensive care, they said.
This is because the UK variant is more transmissible than the original strain of Covid-19, meaning that it can pass more easily from person to person and can cause more severe illness. People infected with the UK variant are more likely to need intensive care and require hospitalisation.
However, director of Public Health at the MoPH Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani explained that people can still take proactive steps to protect themselves and reduce their chances of infection.
“Very early on in the global efforts to produce Covid-19 vaccines, Qatar was clear that it wanted to only procure internationally approved, safe and effective vaccines for its population,” said al-Thani.
“The two Covid-19 vaccines currently being used in Qatar – Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna – have both been shown to be effective at preventing severe symptoms due to the UK variant,” he added.
Qatar’s inoculation program has in recent weeks been drastically expanded to help increase the number of doses being administered across the country.
Earlier this week, a new drive in vaccination centre in Al Wakra that has the capacity of vaccinating 3,000 to 4,000 people a day was opened.
So far, nearly 22% of adults – 16 years or above – have received at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.