Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation, has called on the public to be “patient” and continue to follow Covid-19 guidelines, despite announcing plans to ease restrictions.
Dr Al Khal, who also chairs the National Strategic Group on Covid-19, made these statements during last Sunday’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) press conference, where he also confirmed that case numbers have steadily declined in recent weeks. He attributed this decrease to the public’s compliance with health and safety measures and the ongoing national Covid-19 vaccination programme. According to MOPH, half of the adult population has now received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose.
Despite these strides, Dr Al Khal warned that Qatar is still in the middle of its second wave of infections and stressed the necessity of adhering to current preventive measures. According to him, the presence of highly infectious strains of the Covid-19 virus in the community could cause another surge in infections.
Additionally, Dr Al Khal said that a spike in cases after Eid is possible. Because of this, officials have set the start date of Phase One of the announced four-phase plan to lift restrictions to 28th May 2021. By that date, Dr Al Khal predicts that there will be enough information on the effects of the upcoming holiday, which will help guide the next steps.
Furthermore, Saleh al-Khulaifi, assistant undersecretary for Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, also spoke at the conference. In his statement, he advised anyone who plans to shop during the Eid break to do so online or opt for less crowded areas to curb infection risk.