Refugees from Afghanistan present a low risk for spreading Covid-19

Discover the low risk of Covid-19 transmission among Afghan refugees, as revealed by research conducted by the Ministry of Public Health and Hamad Medical Corporation. Learn how Qatar provided assistance to over 60,000 evacuees and implemented rigorous screening and testing measures. Find out how Qatar's coordinated approach and scientific advancements have contributed to high vaccination and testing rates, along with low Covid-19 death rates. This study aims to dispel misconceptions about the potential risk posed by Afghan refugees to their host countries and communities.

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Researchers from the Ministry of Public Health and Hamad Medical Corporation revealed that Afghan refugees had a low risk of infection with Covid-19 in the nations and communities they relocated to.


Evacuees from Afghanistan, a hotbed of violence, had higher rates of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) infection, according to the research. JAMA Network Open, an esteemed publication of the American Medical Association, published these findings.

After the coalition's departure in 2021, Qatar aided Afghan refugees. Qatar provided the most logistical assistance to those fleeing across its territory. HMC cared for more than 60,000 evacuees. Upon arrival, every traveller is given a Covid-19 screening by the MoPH. Covid-19 infection rates in this population were determined by a study conducted by the MoPH and HMC.

Professor Adeel Butt of Weill Cornell Medicine and HMC, the study's primary author, found that 96.7% of those who had been evacuated had been tested within 24 hours of their arrival. Quarantine was ordered for only 16 people (about 0.2% of the total population).


Fatima Haidar, HMC's Logistics and Quarantine Committee Leader, Dr. Naseer Masoodi, Afghan Evacuee Medical Services Medical Lead and Vice Chair Department of Medicine, and Dr. Samya Al Abdulla, Primary Health Care Corporation's Executive Director of Operations, explain that throughout the pandemic, Covid-19 testing and medical support have been provided to all people.

Assistant Minister for Health Affairs, MoPH Dr. Salih Al Marri emphasized the coordination between MoPH and Qatar's healthcare sector to respond to Covid-19.

"Using good scientific facts and Qatar's wealth of world-class professionals, Qatar's smart leadership has established a robust evidenced-based approach since the pandemic began. Using this method, Qatar has been able to achieve high vaccination and testing rates, as well as low Covid-19 death rates."

Head of infectious diseases at HMC and chair of the Covid-19 National Health Strategic Group, Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, commented: "To combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Qatar placed a high value on good collaboration across all of the country's academic institutions. There have been over 60 scientific publications, many of which have been widely cited by academics and policymakers all around the world thanks to the strong national collaboration. Covid-19 science has progressed in Qatar."

It is Professor Adeel Butt's belief that this study will help persuade the international community that Afghan refugees are not a threat to the countries and communities they settle in.

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