Qatar: Drive-through testing to 'allow understanding of virus'

Through the initiative, authorities seek to gain insight into community transmission of virus and asymptomatic cases.

    Qatar healthcare authorities have launched drive-through COVID-19 testing for policymakers to gain a better understanding of the novel coronavirus.

    Through the initiative, authorities plan to "allow better understanding of the flow of the virus in the community and adapt responses to the scientific findings".

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    Qatar has tested more than 131,000 people, and recorded more than 23,000 coronavirus cases with 14 deaths.

    Abdul Munir, 46, a private taxi driver and COVID-19 survivor, told Al Jazeera that he became ill in early March.

    "I had breathing problems. My whole body was aching. Someone had to help me to go to the bathroom," Munir told Al Jazeera.

    Munir said he lived in a compound with 40 people and shared a room with six - who all tested negative for the virus.

    Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Doha, said health officials say the rate of new infections has slowed and the goal now was to increase testing and contact tracing.  

    Job concerns

    Majority of Qatar's population comprises migrant workers, many of whom fear for their livelihoods given the shuttering of most businesses, services and retail outlets.

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    Doha's Industrial Area is home to about 50,000 of those workers. It was reportedly the epicentre of Qatar's outbreak, which began in early March. 

    The area was under lockdown until the government announced new procedures for parts of the areas, starting from May 11.

    This will allow entry and exit for vehicles and individuals, including employers, employees and residents, provided that all precautionary measures set by relevant government bodies are followed.

    The government guaranteed food supply and salary for those who are affected. However, residents in the Industrial Area have complained of lack of food items and non-payment of dues.

    The government announced a steady supply of food products through different shops. Additionally, various charities were distributing free meals and basic food items.

    However, some residents told Al Jazeera they were running short on food items as their salaries for the last two to three months had been withheld and the employers were not providing food allowances.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News