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COVID-19 update | Qatar orders private health centres to halt non-urgent services

Qatar on Wednesday reported 780 new COVID-19 infections compared with a daily rate below 200 in December.

March 31, 2021 / 08:59 PM IST
Woman on Doha street, Qatar | Representative Image

Woman on Doha street, Qatar | Representative Image

Qatar's cabinet on Wednesday ordered a halt to non-urgent medical services at private health facilities as of April 2 as coronavirus cases rise in the Gulf Arab state, state news agency QNA said.

Qatar on Wednesday reported 780 new COVID-19 infections compared with a daily rate below 200 in December.

The health ministry had on Tuesday widened the country's vaccination campaign to include people aged 40 and above.

Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine found 100% effective on children aged 12-15

"In the past few weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases has risen continuously, leading to significant numbers of people being admitted to hospital and intensive care every day with severe symptoms," the ministry said in a statement.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Qatar last week tightened restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, including closing leisure centres and further reducing operating capacity at shopping malls and cinemas.

Fellow Gulf state Oman, which last week imposed a partial curfew, has also seen coronavirus cases continue to climb. The sultanate recorded 1,162 cases on Wednesday.
Reuters

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