The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) & Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) have teamed up to release a significant study that proves the prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus among evacuees fleeing Afghanistan, a major conflict region.

The research was released in the renowned JAMA Network Open, which itself is part of the American Medical Association’s distinguished network of journals.

Qatar played a critical role in assisting Afghan evacuees following the evacuation of coalition forces in 2021. The evacuees who passed through Qatar on their journey to their ultimate destinations around the globe received the most material aid from Qatar.

HMC offered medical assistance to nearly 60,000 evacuees during their migration process. As per the MoPH’s procedures for inbound travelers, all refugees were screened for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). 

MoPH & HMC researched to establish the prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in this community and ensure rapid detection of positive cases because there is no data on the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 contamination among these groups.

Professor Adeel Butt, from Weill Cornell Medical College, is the primary researcher of the report. Between August 2020 and December 15, 2021, HMC started testing 7,834 evacuees, with 96.7% tested in less than 24 hours of arrival. Just 16 people (0.2%) received a positive or reactive result, and they were segregated as per MoPH guidelines.

“Since the start of the global COVID-19-epidemic, Qatar, under the wise leadership, has embraced a strong evidence-based strategy, backed by valid scientific proof, and is trying to tap into a wealth of world-class specialists employed in diverse research universities in Qatar,” said Dr. Salih Al Marri, Health Affairs Assistant Minister, MoPH, who was also a part of this research.

 “Qatar has one of the greatest testing and immunization rates in the world, as well as one of the lowest COVID-19 fatality rates,” he concluded. 

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