Authorities redeploy private healthcare staff for Covid-19 assistance at public hospitals, as the national vaccination campaign continues to accelerate.
Private healthcare workers will be freed up from their day-to-day roles and reassigned to Covid-19 support duties at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), the state news agency reported on Sunday.
The move comes as part of a set of cabinet decisions to support the public healthcare sector as Qatar witnesses a sharp surge in Covid-19 cases.
Among the other measures to alleviate pressure is PHCC’s temporary halting of Covid-19 PCR swabs for people planning to travel abroad, Dr. Nasser Al Ansari, Head of Infection Control at Al Wakra Hospital announced on Sunday.
This is temporary and will be reviewed once the pressure is eased, the health official added, directing those wishing to get tested for travel purposes towards private health clinics.
“With the recent rise in Covid-19 cases in Qatar, our healthcare staff are under enormous pressure,” he said.
Dr. Samya Al Abdulla, Executive Director of Operations at PHCC said the moves are designed to “ensure we prioritise our resources on providing services for people with Covid-19 and for those being vaccinated as well as continue to provide essential primary care services and walk in urgent care in our health centres.”
Stricter policies are also being imposed at health facilities in efforts to further ensure the safety of patients, visitors and healthcare staff. On Sunday, Qatar recorded 876 infections, bringing the total number of active cases to 17,169.
“Rising severity of Covid-19 cases in Qatar have led to increased numbers of people being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 for treatment,” said Dr. Al Ansari.
“To manage this increased demand for hospital beds, HMC has designated seven facilities to provide care for patients with Covid-19 and our policy means that no visitors are allowed to these facilities, while all other facilities are operating a restricted visitor policy,” he added.
Meanwhile, health authorities are continuing efforts to speed up and expand the nationwide vaccination campaign with aims to inoculate 90% of the population by the end of this year.
So far, 25% (1 in 4) of eligible adults in Qatar have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).
In the last seven days alone, 170,542 shots have been administered, bumping the total number of shots given since the start of the programme in December to nearly 1 million doses.
Authorities also confirmed 76% of people over 60 years of age have also received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose since the start of Qatar’s National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.
In its weekly report, the ministry revealed that 74.6% of people over 70 years of age, and 74.2% of people over 80 years of age have also received the first dose of vaccination.