* “At social gatherings, the number should be kept to the minimum, for instance 10 persons, because this minimises the chances of spreading infection, and in case of some person got infected it would be easier to trace the chain of infection”
The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) spread is limited to only certain pockets in Qatar and if people strictly avoid large social gatherings the infection rate could be brought under good control, a senior health official told Qatar TV on Monday.
“People should abide by the recommendations of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in maintaining physical distancing, wearing face masks and washing hands regularly until we find an effective and adequate vaccine,” reiterated Public Health Department director Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani.
“At social gatherings, the number should be kept to the minimum, for instance 10 persons, because this minimises the chances of spreading infection, and in case of some person got infected it would be easier to trace the chain of infection rather than in the case of a large gatherings,” he explained.
The MoPH official also revealed that it is easy to take samples from the sewage network in the potential spots of virus presence rather than testing a large number of individuals.
“The Public Works Authority and the Municipality have helped us in this. The cost of taking samples for tests from public places is much less than checking large numbers of people. The testing focuses on public places and areas of concentration, not private houses.
“We are in a very promising situation. We had reached below 200 (daily cases) but some people started to go easy on the precautionary measures and had more social gatherings taking the cases to nearly 300.
“There is more concentration of Covid-19 cases in some areas. It was more in the Industrial Area during the initial stages and then it eventually dropped.
“We found the virus on different surfaces, but it was not clear conclusively if it was contagious or not. There are companies claiming they have sterilised all surfaces. However, when we took samples, we found the virus. So, we recommend better sterilisation, especially in health and educational facilities, the airport and crowded places.
“The most dangerous thing we have found that if someone gets the infection from his work place or from a supermarket, he would transmit disease to most of his family members,” the official said.
Regarding vaccination, Sheikh Dr Mohamed al-Thani said Qatar has contacted several agencies to reserve quantities of vaccines as soon as they are available.
“We are optimistic that due to the collective international effort, a Covid-19 vaccine will be produced within the next two months,” he hoped.
The Public Health director stated the most vulnerable people will be given priority once the vaccine arrives in Qatar.
With regard to seasonal influenza vaccinations, he said Qatar this year has reserved the largest quantity of vaccines, which will be available at all health centres.
The official urged everyone to take the flu vaccination, which are to be available for free before the end of October.