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Coronavirus 2019

What is Coronavirus Disease 2019?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel (new) strain of coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, Hebei Province, China.

According to the updated clinical and epidemiological features of the emerging virus, the novel Coronavirus is considered to be very similar to many coronaviruses that are typically transmitted from animals to humans. However, this novel virus is reported to have been transmitted from human to human with a course of illness that ranges from mild to moderate symptoms in the majority of people with the infection. Nevertheless, severe symptoms and complications or even death may occur in people who suffer chronic diseases and lowered immunity.

There is currently no vaccine available to protect against the COVID-2019. Though there is no specific antiviral treatment available, people infected with the Coronavirus disease 2019 receive medical care to relieve their symptoms.

For more information, please visit the website of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) www.moph.gov.qa or call 16000.

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

Common signs of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. As the virus becomes more severe, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. If you experience these symptoms and you have travelled to China or one of the affected countries in the last 14 days you should go to your nearest healthcare facility immediately or call the national COVID-19 hotline on 16000 for further assistance.

What if I experience COVID-19 signs and symptoms but have not been to China or other affected countries?

Common signs of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. These are also symptoms of other respiratory conditions including the flu or common cold. However, unless you experience these symptoms AND you have travelled to China or one of the affected countries in the last 14 days OR had contact with a COVID-19 confirmed case, there is almost no risk of you having COVID-19.

How is COVID-19 different from the flu or common cold?

People with COVID-19, the flu, or a cold typically develop similar respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough and runny nose. Even though many symptoms are alike, they are caused by different viruses. Because of their similarities, it can be difficult to identify the disease based on symptoms alone. That’s why laboratory tests are required to confirm if someone has COVID-19. Unless the person experiencing these symptoms has travelled to China or one of the affected countries in the 14 days, there is almost no risk of them having COVID-19.

What should I do to protect myself from COVID-19?

Although there are no specific measures that the public should take at this time, people are reminded of the need to follow standard infection prevention and control measures. This includes regular hand hygiene and covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, especially as other respiratory viruses are common during winter. People should also avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Please check the Educational Materials and Educational Videos on MOPH website.

In addition, wearing a medical mask can help limit the spread of some respiratory diseases. However, MOPH does not currently advise people to wear a mask to reduce their risk of COVID-19. A facemask should only be worn if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms of the virus. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.

You can also try Home Quarantine to protect yourself our family, your friends, and the community, as a whole. For more information, please check the Home Quarantine page on MOPH website.

Should I call 999 for information or medical assistance for COVID-19?

No, the 999 number is for medical emergencies requiring immediate medical attention and transfer to an emergency department. The Ambulance Service’s Medical Dispatchers receive hundreds of 999 calls each day from members of the public with urgent medical conditions and the 999 number must be prioritized for these life-threatening situations. For all questions and enquiries related to COVID-19, members of the public should call MOPH’s dedicated hotline on 16000, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How prepared is Qatar’s health sector to deal with a potential outbreak of COVD-19?

Qatar’s healthcare sector is strongly prepared to manage a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in the country. Hamad Medial Corporation (HMC) Ambulance Service staff have been fully trained to safely transfer and manage patients with this type of communicable virus, while preventing further spread. The Ambulance Service has the necessary vehicles and protective equipment to manage patients with COVID-19. Any patient with suspected COV-ID-19 is taken to HMC’s Communicable Disease Center for treatment and monitoring while the test is carried out.

The Communicable Disease Center is purpose-built to manage patients with this type of condition and ensure that the virus is not spread to other people within the hospital or outside. Healthcare workers across the country have been specifically trained to manage any potential outbreak and efforts to strengthen infection prevention and control, case management and laboratory procedures have been prioritized. Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been planned as a contingency.

What steps has Qatar taken to date to protect the population from COVID-19?

  • -Robust thermal screening procedures at Hamad International Airport and sea ports for passengers entering Doha from all countries. The screening helps to identify passengers with fever, one of the common symptoms of COVID-19
  • -A special clinic at Hamad International Airport to conduct interviews and examinations of all suspected travelers at the airport.
  • -MOPH has established residential accommodation for those people who meet the quarantine standards.
  • -Additional training for healthcare workers and the strengthening of infection prevention and control, and laboratory procedures have all been prioritized.
  • -A community awareness campaign has been delivered featuring a dedicated national website, TV and radio interviews with medical experts, regular social media messaging, and newspaper coverage. These activities have included Arabic, English, Hindi, Malayalam, French, and Chinese languages.
  • -Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control teams have been engaged in regular active surveillance visits to hospitals and Intensive Care Units to ensure that no suspected cases of respiratory infections are missed in accordance with the WHO.
  • -What are the precautionary measures Qatar took to minimize the spread of COVID-19?
  • -Qatar has taken a number of precautionary measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 across various areas:

Air Transport

As a preventive measure to limit the spread of COVID-19, all incoming flights to Doha were stopped for 14 days, starting from Wednesday, March 18, which could be renewed, with the exception of air cargo and transit flights, in addition to receiving any Qatari citizens coming from any destination in the world with implementing a 14-day quarantine on them.

These precautionary measures may be subject to further updates based on the latest guidance of government authorities in Qatar and international organizations. If you have any travel plans, please check the information published by the Government of your destination country before travelling.

To get the latest COVID-19 travel updates in Qatar, please visit the Travel Advisory page on the website of Hamad International Airport, and the Travel Alerts page on the website of Qatar Airways.

Public Transportation

All modes of public transportation stopped, including metro and Karwa buses, from the night of Sunday, 15 March at 10:00 pm, as a step to further minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Education

As one of the precautionary measures, a decision has been made to suspend public and private schools and universities for all students in the State of Qatar, which came into effect starting Tuesday, 10 March, until further notice, to ensure the safety of students in all government and private educational institutions. Accordingly, virtual classes started taking place of conventional means of teaching and learning as educational institutes are ready to employ modern technology. Starting Sunday, 22 March 2020, all students in public schools will be learning remotely and students from grades the first grade to the eleventh grade will be subject to an ongoing evaluation system. As for the twelfth grade students, they will undergo high school exams on time and at the exams headquarters, which will be announced later. As for students in private schools and universities, they start studying remotely according to the academic calendar and the evaluation systems approved for them.

Workplace

The Cabinet decided to reduce the number of employees at the workplace of government entities to 20% of the total workforce from Sunday, 22 March 2020, for a period of two weeks. While 80% of the staff will work from their homes, those present and working from their workplace will help complete the necessary tasks for the functioning and regularity of public facilities, during which the situation will be assessed in order to take necessary decision, with the exception of military, security and healthcare sectors.

Restaurants

Submitting orders in restaurants and cafes, and sitting of customers or forming gatherings inside and outside the aforementioned halls, have been banned until further notice, within the framework of preventive measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, with the exception of home delivery services for external orders and pickups for internal orders, until further notice.

Other Precautionary Measures

  • -Closing retail stores and bank branches in the commercial complexes and shopping centers, with the exception of shops and food outlets and pharmacies
  • -Closing shops and all activities of male and female barbershops, until further notice, and stopping the home services provided by some of these barbershops
  • -Stopping the activities of health clubs in hotels, according to the circulars issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, until further notice
  • -Prohibiting all forms of gathering, by the power of law, including, but not limited to, Corniche, public parks and beaches, and social gatherings

How could I access the services I need while staying at home to protect myself?

Various government entities, ministries, and service providers across Qatar called on the public to access their services online, instead of going to their premises or respective service centers. You can access those services from the comfort and safety of your home through:

Metrash 2 Mobile App

MOI Website

QNB Mobile App

QNB Website

Amerni Qatar Mobile App

Mawared 2 Mobile App

MADLSA Website

KAHRAMAA Mobile App

KAHRAMAA Website

MOCI Qatar Mobile App

MOCI Website

Ooredoo Qatar Mobile App

Ooredoo Website

MOTC Mobile App

MOTC Website

Qatar Airways Mobile App

Qatar Airways Website

You can check several mobile apps for ministries and various entities on Hukoomi portal.

How can I find out about the latest updates for COVID-19 cases in Qatar and any key announcements?

You can track COVID-19 cases in Qatar in Coronavirus2019 page and Announcements page on MOPH website. You can also follow the social media accounts of MOPH, HMC, and Primary Health Care Corporation, where any new updates will be posted. Call the national COVID-19 hotline on 16000 for all enquiries. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Below is a list of key sources of information:

MOPH Website

HMC Website

PHCC Website

 

Qatar Health Mobile App

 

Al Arab Mobile App

Al Arab Website

Al Sharq Mobile App

Al Sharq Website

The Peninsula Mobile App

The Peninsula Website

Al Watan Mobile App

Al Watan Website

Qatar Tribune Mobile App

Qatar Tribune Website



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