Dr. Al Qahtani: Most recent active COVID-19 cases are of a variant strain, demanding increased public vigilance

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Manama, Feb. 13 (BNA): Infectious Disease Consultant & Microbiologist at the BDF Hospital and member of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr. Lt. Col. Manaf Al Qahtani, highlighted the importance of taking extra precautions in light of the prevalence of a variant COVID-19 strain, more highly transmittable than the initial COVID-19 strain.


Dr. Al Qahtani noted that vaccines are safe and effective in preventing the spread of the virus as well as preventing serious complications from COVID-19, if infected. Dr. Al Qahtani further reiterated the importance for all to register for the vaccine, to protect individuals, their families and the community.


Dr. Al Qahtani underlined the importance of supporting mitigation efforts and strictly following all precautionary measures advised by the National Medical Taskforce for Combatting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other relevant authorities, in particular given the prevalence of the variant strain. Moreover, Dr. Al Qahtani noted that the precautionary measures issued previously are the same measures that must be followed to combat the variant.


Dr. Al Qahtani emphasised that the variant strain from the United Kingdom has been detected in most of the current active cases, adding that the elderly are at greatest risk from the variant, noting that symptoms appear at a later stage. Dr. Al Qahtani further emphasised the importance of taking greater precautions when interacting with the elderly, or those who have chronic diseases, even within the same household.


Dr. Al Qahtani asserted that the Kingdom of Bahrain is the only country that requires incoming passengers to undergo a second PCR test 10 days after arrival, and data does not indicate that the recent increase in numbers is due to travel. In this respect, Dr. Al Qahtani highlighted that over 250,000 contact tracing figures have indicated that most of the current cases are linked to family and private gatherings.


Dr. Al Qahtani concluded by stressing the importance of staying away from gatherings and limiting gatherings to individuals of the same household and immediate social circle, in addition to getting vaccinated and strictly following all the precautionary measures and regulations issued by the Taskforce and relevant authorities.