The Cabinet decision closing commercial stores from May 19 to 30 is a key step in greatly preventing the spread of Covid-19 in Qatar, a top healthcare official has said.
Exceptions are food stores, pharmacies and eateries providing delivery services, and any other activity as decided by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Cabinet decided on May 18.
“Eid al-Fitr should be observed by staying home and exchanging greetings on phone,” urged Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the National Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation.
Pointing out how the Covid-19 virus spreads among families by presenting cases of members of one family or extended family who mixed with each other on Iftar occasions or family gatherings, he highlighted the danger of such practices.
Dr al-Khal called on members of the society to increase commitment to preventive measures, especially with the approaching Eid al-Fitr.
“Social visits will lead to more spread of the virus than the current situation, and consequently cases requiring intensive care may increase,” he reminded.
Dr al-Khal has urged everyone to download the Ehteraz app on their smartphones as it has an important role in helping people be aware whether they have been exposed to the virus without their knowledge.
“Ehteraz alerts users so that they can go to a health centre for a check up to confirm if infected or not and thereby preventing further spread of Covid-19,” he explained while observing that many countries have launched similar apps which have proven effective in limiting the spread of Covid-19.
On the Cabinet decision not to have more than two people in one car, Dr al-Khal stressed this is very important to prevent the transmission of the virus because the car is a closed and narrow place and if there is an infected person, he can transmit the virus to other people in the vehicle. So, all using vehicles should also wear masks.
The guideline to exercise in places close to one’s home while wearing a mask was issued after observing recently that a large number of people practice sports outside the home. Though a healthy lifestyle, this should be in accordance with precautionary measures that avoid transmitting the virus.
Referring to the fact Qatar is currently in the peak phase of the Covid-19 outbreak, Dr al-Khal said that the number of new infections is expected to fluctuate between 1,000 and 1,600 currently.
“Qatar’s health system has also proven its ability to deal with the pandemic, which had caused many deaths around the world, whereas thanks to the efforts of health workers and all departments, we have been able to reduce fatality significantly,” Dr al-Khal added.