The government of Qatar has brought in new guidelines wherein the asymptomatic Covid19 patients could be recharged after having 14 days of quarantine from the healthcare facilities. Currently, patients are living in hospitals for more than 14 days till the date they show two negative PCR test results. The newer guidelines will facilitate their home return quickly so that they can start their stagnant life again.
As per Dr. Naema Al Molawi, Virologist at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), “The new protocol for discharging patients with COVID-19 is an encouraging step forward and brings Qatar in line with the most recent scientific evidence showing that after ten days from the first positive swab, the majority of patients are no longer contagious with COVID-19.”
She added that the earlier protocol meant for patients to carry two negative swabs before being able to be discharged. However, the second negative test can take weeks to showcase depending upon the immunity of the patient. Dr. Molawi cited reports from the world including United Kingdom, United States of America and Germany where the patients are no longer contagious after ten days. Therefore the government has decided to keep a mandatory 14 day period after which the patient will be discharged. Any patient with moderate to severe symptoms will, however, continue to stay under care in the hospitals.
As per Dr. Nasser Al Ansari, Head of Infection Control at Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital, thos patients who display no symtoms after fourteen days will be discharged under the new policy. For mild patients, isolation can be discontinued fourteen days from diagnosis and a minimum of five days from resolution of symptoms, whichever is longer. He added that they have been seen an influx in the number of patients recovering from the virus and it acts as a morale boosting phenomena for them. They expect the number of recovering patients to further rise in the coming weeks.
Upon discharge from the hospital, the patient would have adhere to set of instructions provided by the medical professionals. They would have to download and activate the ‘Ehteraz’ mobile application while remaining in home quarantine an additional week. For this period of time, their Ehteraz status will remain yellow.
As per Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, Medical Director, Communicable Disease Center and the Medical Director for COVID-19, “The revised policy, which was approved by the Ministry of Public Health, is based on the latest scientific knowledge about the dynamics of the virus and the recent changes in US and European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as well as World Health Organization guidelines.”
“The policy will apply to the vast majority of COVID-19 patients; however, there are some exceptions. If the patient is returning to a household which includes one or more people over 60 years of age, and it is judged appropriate, an additional COVID-19 test will be done prior to discharge. If the test is positive the patient will remain in a hospital or isolation facility for further seven days and will then be discharged without a repeat test. Additionally, hospitalized patients, especially older patients and those with chronic conditions, who had required acute care because of severe COVID-19 symptoms, will be judged on a case-by-case basis by the treating physician before discontinuing isolation”, he added.