Over the past few weeks, Qatar has taken a proactive stance towards putting the outbreak to a halt. The country’s health sector is highly prepared and capable of managing the pandemic, with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) leading the way with fully-trained staff and healthcare workers. HMC also has a Communicable Disease Center responsible for the treatment and monitoring of patients.
Qatar has taken lots of measures to control the pandemic. The earliest actions it took include providing thermal screening at the main airports and seaports at the early onset, providing accommodation to persons who need quarantine measures, training the healthcare workers and strengthening the infectious diseases prevention and control units, campaigning for national awareness and prompting citizens to stay at home and exercise proper hygiene, regular visits to hospitals by the Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control teams, and so much more.
Latest Measures Made by Qatar to Halt the Outbreak
As Qatar faces widespread transmission, it has taken the following key measures in response.
1. Launching of a National Campaign for Volunteering
— وزارة الصحة العامة (@MOPHQatar) March 26, 2020
Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) launched a campaign to look for volunteers that will help the country see an end to this pandemic. Some of the responsibilities of the volunteers include giving support to healthcare practice, helping disseminate health care information to the public, helping ease logistics and more.
2. Establishing New Quarantine Compounds
Quarantine compounds have been established to help support a potential influx of people who will need quarantine. One example is the recently inspected Umm Slal quarantine compound which has 18,000 beds in 32 buildings. The compound is also complete with not just the required health services and equipment, but also ensures the safety, comfort and entertainment of the patients.
3. Changes Made in the Health Care System
Due to the necessary preventive measures to address the pandemic, the Ministry of Public Health has adjusted the working hours of the Medical Commission. The most recent adjustment is a new work shift of 7 AM to 2 PM for the Medical Commission starting on Sunday, March 29. Other changes include cancelled scheduled appointments in the Primary Health Care Corporation, except for special circumstances, outpatient appointments through telephone conversation at the Hamad Medical Corporation, cancellation of elective surgeries at the same institution, and more.
4. Public Health Awareness Campaigns
In-person money exchanges and transfer services in #Qatar have been temporarily closed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Banks and exchange companies continue to offer online transfer services via their websites and free mobile apps. #YourSafetyisMySafety pic.twitter.com/ek62Yilhvv
— مكتب الاتصال الحكومي (@GCOQatar) March 26, 2020
In social media, Qatar has started the hashtag #YourSafetyIsMySafety to emphasize the importance of social distancing. The MOPH, the Government Communications Office (GCO) of Qatar, and other Ministries have also sufficiently enhanced their presence on social media to keep residents up-to-date with the latest numbers related to the pandemic. They have also used various platforms to raise health awareness, provide health tips, and make important announcements.
5. Tracking the Pandemic
The national hotline for all types of queries regarding the outbreak is 16000; this number is available 24-7. The most relevant sources of information are pointed out by the Qatar Government’s Portal Website as follows: The MOPH Website, the Hamad Medical Corporation Website, the Primary Health Care Corporation Website, the Qatar Health Mobile App, the Al Arab Website and mobile app, the Al Sharq Website and mobile app, The Peninsula Website and mobile app, the Al Watan Website and mobile app, and the Qatar Tribune Website and mobile app.
These are just a few of the many things Qatar has done in light of this health crisis. Rest assured, the Qatari locals and residents know that their government is doing a great job, so the best way to respond is through cooperation and coordination with the regulations set by the government.