More than 25,000 thousand people are being tested for Covid-19 daily, with significant delays to results and long appointment waiting lists.
Qatar has opened a new and much-needed laboratory at Hamad General Hospital to increase testing capacity for Covid-19, Hamad Medical Corporation [HMC] announced on Sunday.
The new lab aims to slash turn-over time for test results in the country after weeks of significant delays—a phenomenon that triggered frustration from the community over the past few weeks—due to overcrowding in testing facilities and a rise in Covid infections during the third wave.
“In recent weeks, like many countries around the world, we have experienced unprecedented demand for COVID-19 testing, due to the increase in cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, in addition to the large number of travelers returning to Qatar in early January,” said Dr. Einas Al Kuwari, Chair of HMC’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.
“Our laboratory teams have been working 24-hours-a-day, 7 days a week, to process a record number of tests, reaching a peak of nearly 40,000 tests a day.”
The new facility, which is now the fourth laboratory for COVID-19 testing, has the capacity to process 5,000 to 6,000 tests a day, according to Qatar News Agency.
The addition is expected to help reduce delays in processing PCR tests significantly, particularly since Qatar began witnessing its third wave of Covid-19 infections.