Doha, 1 July, 2020: The Minister of Public Health, Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, today visited Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Ras Laffan Hospital and met with the last recovered COVID-19 patients being discharged from that hospital.
Ras Laffan was formally opened in April by His Excellency the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, and has provided high-quality care to COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms. With the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Qatar continuing to decline there is now less demand for hospital beds. As a result, Ras Laffan Hospital will no longer admit COVID-19 patients and the facility will be utilized for other healthcare needs.
“I was delighted to meet two of the final group of patients being discharged before they left Ras Laffan Hospital to return home. To date, more than 80,000 patients have successfully recovered from COVID-19 in Qatar – each of them having received the expert support they need in a hospital or medical isolation facility. It is a testament to the high-quality medical care of the team at Ras Laffan and our other COVID-19 hospitals that Qatar has one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates in the world. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the opening and operation of Ras Laffan Hospital over the past three months for their commitment and dedication,” said Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari.
“We are now past the peak of the virus in Qatar and the number of new confirmed cases continues to fall, but COVID-19 is still very much a threat to the health of our population. I am pleased to see this state-of-the-art new hospital able to now focus on medical care for the general population in the north of Qatar. I hope that with the help of everyone in the community in following the preventative measures we will be able to return all seven COVID-19 dedicated hospitals to normal patient care. Please stay safe, follow the preventative measures of physical distancing, and seek medical attention immediately at the first sign of symptoms. If you have members of your family that are high risk, protect them by being extra vigilant,” added Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari.
Dr. Saad Al Kaabi, Chairman of HMC’s System Wide Incident Command Committee (SWICC) for COVID-19, explained the key priorities set out by the SWICC at the start of the pandemic.
“Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Qatar, we have worked hard as a healthcare system to ensure all patients with COVID-19 can quickly access the care they need. Our strategy was to designate seven hospitals to care for COVID-19 patients. Four of the hospitals, including Ras Laffan, were previously not in operation and were rapidly opened to significantly boost our capacity from 2,250 beds to a potential maximum 3,500 hospital beds,” said Dr. Al Kaabi.
“One of the key factors in achieving Qatar’s low COVID-19 mortality rate has been our ability to admit patients with the most severe symptoms to intensive care facilities as soon as their conditions determine the need. Our COVID-19 plan delivered significant expansion of our intensive care capacity - to more than 700 beds - and at the peak of the virus, we had more than 300 patients receiving treatment in intensive care units. Being able to provide these patients with intensive care support without delay can be the difference between life and death,” added Dr. Al Kaabi.
Dr. Khaled Al Jalham, Clinical Lead for Ras Laffan Hospital, said he was proud of the team at Ras Laffan for the role they played in caring for patients in Qatar with COVID-19.
“I am immensely proud of the team here at Ras Laffan Hospital for the role they have played in caring for more than 4,000 patients with COVID-19 since opening in April. In just two weeks before the opening, we transformed the hospital from an empty facility into a high-advanced hospital with more than 760 operational hospital beds. As Ras Laffan comes to the end of its role as a care facility for COVID-19 patients, we look forward to the next chapter which will see the hospital further boosting healthcare delivery in the north of Qatar,” said Dr. Al Jalham.