• Wednesday, Jul 15, 2020
  • Last Update : 06:24 pm

Qatar widens virus testing beyond locked down workers

  • Published at 05:12 pm May 8th, 2020
Qatar-coronavirus
File photo: Health workers, collect swab samples from a man at a drive-thru testing service for coronavirus in Doha on May 7, 2020 AFP

The Gulf monarchy of 2.75 million people has seen a relatively high number of cases with 18,890 testing positive

Qatar has launched a new drive-through coronavirus testing program to assess the prevalence of the disease in the wider population beyond the worst-affected groups where tests had been targeted.

The Gulf monarchy of 2.75 million people has seen a relatively high number of cases with 18,890 testing positive.

However, its death rate with 12 fatalities is one of the world's lowest which experts say is down to the country's young population and mandatory health checks for its vast foreign workforce.

Migrant labourers in the gritty Industrial Area suburb and Qataris returning from virus hotspots like Iran have been the focus of testing efforts, along with those found to have been in contact with them.

But a two-day pilot launched Wednesday has seen asymptomatic residents and citizens contacted and invited to participate in voluntary tests at several clinics across the country.

"The project aims at understanding what is the prevalence of the disease in the community -- the community at large," said Roberto Bertollini, an adviser to the health minister.

"We have a lot of data coming from the labourer community but not much from the overall community of white collar (workers), Qataris, and other populations."

Tens of thousands of residents were quarantined in Industrial Area after cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed among the community in mid-March but authorities have begun to ease restrictions.

"This will allow us to know how many people are actually infected today," added Bertollini. 

A Qatari in a black pick-up truck flicked a victory sign after having swabs taken in a repurposed ambulance garage at the Lebaib Health Centre, 20 kilometres northwest of central Doha

Officials have said the pilot could be extended.

Bars, restaurants, cinemas and mosques are shut in Qatar to contain the spread of coronavirus, but construction projects including World Cup 2022 stadiums have continued with new rules to encourage distancing.

Bertollini, who suggested the number of new infections could peak "in a couple of weeks' time", said Qatar's social distancing measures "are probably what we can afford". 

"We need to be very prudent in releasing the restrictions," he added.

51
51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail