Health officials confirm the presence of Covid-19 variants in Qatar.
A spike in daily community cases in Qatar is linked to the emergence of the UK variant as well as public negligence to precautionary health measures, health officials revealed at a televised press conference on Wednesday.
According to the local officials, the recently-detected UK strain contributed greatly to Qatar’s rising cases, particularly those requiring hospital admissions. This is due to the severity of the strain, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mohammed, Acting Head of the Intensive Care Department at the Hamad Medical Corporation [HMC], said.
“In the past two weeks alone, we have seen an 82% increase in the number of people infected with the virus in intensive care units,” he said.
Al-Mohammed added that 40% of the cases in intensive care during the current wave are under the age of 50.
The number of daily infections rate is expected to increase over the next two weeks, he warned.
“We were able to contain the infection rate in February, but the cases recently began increasing and we are now seeing a second wave,” added Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at HMC.
The health officials also warned of the South African variant, which has been recorded among travellers entering the country. This variant is more likely to spread among community members, they warned.
Qatar has also witnessed an increase in Covid-19 fatalities, with seven deaths recorded last week alone as well as seven more this week.
“The lack of adherence to the new restrictions and precautionary measures in place will lead to a higher increase in daily recorded cases,” warned Dr. Al Khal.
The concerning statistics led authorities to trigger the third stage of a new four-phase plan to contain the spread of the virus.
With Ramadan around the corner, Dr. Al Khal said there is a concern over a possible increase in cases, as was the case during the holy Muslim fasting month last year.
“We aim to contain the spread earlier in order to allow everyone to celebrate Eid Al Fitr,” he said.
Responding to a question regarding the role of the vaccines in curbing the spread of the virus, Dr. Al Khal said that the country noticed less infections among vaccinated individuals.
“Soon, more than 180,000 doses will be given per week at a rate of more than 25,000 per day” he said.
Nevertheless, the health officials stressed the importance of abiding by precautionary health measures.
“We all have an individual responsibility that we each must fulfil during this period despite the availability of vaccines,” said Dr. Al Khal.
“We must work together to strengthen our efforts to combat this disease by strictly adhering to the precautionary restrictions imposed against the coronavirus,” he added.
For the full list of updated restrictions, click here.