98.5% of the teachers and other school employees free from Covid-19: Official

  • 2 months   ago
98.5% of the teachers and other school employees free from Covid-19: Official

Random COVID-19 tests will be carried out on students going back to schools in September, Co-Chair of Qatar’s National Pandemic Preparedness Committee Dr Abdullatif Al Khal said in Doha on Monday.

Qatar will start its three-phased plan to gradually bring students back to schools from September 1.

Dr Khal said the COVID-19 tests done on 98.5 percent of the teachers and other school employees returned negative.

Qatar has seen a significant decline in new COVID-19 infections since the beginning of June, he said, adding that infection rates stabilized at the end of July.

“Then, we witnessed an increase in the number of infection in the first half of August and then the numbers began to decrease in the past few days.”

He attributed the success in reining in the virus to preventive measures taken by the government and public cooperation.

Indicators show a slight decrease in new infections in the past two weeks, despite an increase in the number of daily examinations, he added.

The rate of infection per hundred examinations in August ranged between 1 and 2, which is a low rate, he said.

"However, the virus will not disappear and we should continue our daily lives while taking the necessary precautions."

Family gatherings were again a major cause for most of the new COVID-19 cases recorded in Qatar, Dr Khal said.

“Coronavirus will not disappear. Therefore, it is important that we continue our daily lives and achieve a balance, but on the condition that everyone in the community adheres to the necessary precautions of wearing a muzzle, maintaining a safe distance, maintaining clean hands and avoiding crowded places.

“We will one day return to our normal life with the availability of a safe and effective vaccine for the Covid-19 virus, and the State of Qatar is working to provide vaccination for all members of society Once the Corona virus vaccine is available in the world,” he said.

Student absences won’t be counted in first two weeks of Sept: Official

Students who do not turn up in schools in the first two weeks of September will not be marked absent, Dr Ibrahim Al Nuaimi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, said in Doha on Monday.

Addressing a press conference, he said Minister of Education and Higher Education HE Mohammed Abdul Wahed Ali Al Hammadi has taken into account the concerns of parents and foreign-returnees and issued a directive in this regard.

 

Qatar is all set to roll out its three-phased plan to gradually bring students back to schools on September 1, following months of COVID-19-induced hiatus.

Dr Nuaimi said 13 new private schools and kindergartens opened this year, accommodating around 7,000 students and raising the total number of private schools in Qatar to 340.

Besides, five new government schools started operations this year, adding 145 more classrooms into the existing pool from a total of 283 state-run schools, he added.

“Qatar is proud that it completed the last academic year exams in schools with the lowest percentage of COVID-19 infections,” he said.

“We found great readiness in public and private schools to receive students by taking all precautionary measures, which reassures us and the parents that we are entering a successful academic year.”

SUMMARY OF KEY MESSAGES

- The measures put in place have succeeded in lowering the number of new daily cases over the past few months thanks to the combined efforts of the government and members of the public.

- What is very clear is that people who follow the preventive measures-wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing and regular hand washing-have a very low risk of catching the virus.

- We are seeing that a high proportion of positive cases among Qatari nationals and expat professionals are due to a minority of people within these groups who continue to ignore preventive advice-putting themselves and those around them at risk

- We have seen incidences of large scale family gatherings and celebrations with more than 100 people.

- These mass gatherings put many people at risk and risk undermining all the efforts that have been done to combat the virus to date

- The phased approach to lifting restrictions has worked very well and while we have seen small clusters of cases as a result of people not adhering to the preventive measures,we have not yet seen signs of a second wave.

- We have opened malls, workplaces, mosques and other public places, and people have been able to visit these locations safely- supported by Ehteraz and the preventive measures-and we have not seen any significant spike in the total number of cases.

- The start of Phase 4 will again open new facilities and offer people more freedom,but it is important to remember that the further lifting of restrictions does not mean that the virus has disappeared and the threat to our health has gone.

- COVID-19 is still a very real threat and we must not become complacent. 

- The blended approach enabling children to return to school has been carefully planned with all the relevant authorities and all measures are being put in place by schools to ensure the safety of children and reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

- As we know, while children are not Immune from catching COVID-19,they are extremely unlikely to experience severe symptoms of the virus and their safety is always our first priority.

- With a maximum of 30% of children in school each day,in addition to supporting preventive measures,we are confident that everything is in place to enable children to safely return to schools.

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