The spread of the coronavirus has accelerated in the Middle East, especially Qatar. The number of infections in the Gulf country is growing faster than ever, although authorities are trying to hide the real numbers of the pandemic.
A group of foreign doctors, working in a major Qatari health institution designated to receive COVID-19 patients in Doha, affirm that there are directives from the higher health authorities that the real numbers of cases and deaths should not be issued.
The doctors, speaking on condition of anonymity fearing retaliation, reported that the aim of this manipulation is a sovereign decision in the Qatari government to prevent the preparations for the establishment of the World Cup being affected, and in particular, preventing the withdrawal of several advertising companies.
“The spread of the virus is growing exponentially,” says a surgeon working on the treatment of hundreds of foreign patients admitted to the isolation and intensive care center on the outskirts of Doha. The doctor adds that he has received clear instructions from the Ministry of Health not to publish the daily data of the pandemic. “The authorities want to avoid creating panic so as not to lose millions of dollars represented by the Fifa World Cup.
Millions of visitors are expected from all over the world. If the world knew the real conditions we are living in, almost everyone would cancel their flights and hotel reservations. In the worst-case scenario, FIFA could even cancel the event. Well, the authorities don’t want that to happen after investing millions in projects.” The doctor stressed.
Dozens of hotels and tourism services companies that had established branches in Qatar to keep up with the World Cup have set up firms with Qatari entities and corporations. And since the Corona crisis affects these their sectors, the falsification of daily COVID-19 numbers in Qatar gives them hope that they will remain involved in the event and not announce their withdrawal due to the heavy losses.
The Qatari government has begun falsifying data on coronavirus cases and deaths in the country almost since the start of the pandemic, practicing mass expulsions and arrests of hundreds of foreign workers suspected of carrying the virus.
The move sparked a stiff reaction from regional health authorities and international organizations committed to defending human rights. The al-Thani royal family is trying to hide the real impact of the disease on the population. “The authoritarian, insensitive, inhuman and unethical attempt to make the dead of Covid-19 invisible will not be successful”, commented the doctors.
The labor camps in Qatar have long been criticized by human rights defenders for overcrowding and unbearable living conditions, which became a fertile ground for transmission of COVID-19. Since Qatar’s first few cases of COVID-19 has been confirmed in March, the numbers have mushroomed to almost 120,000 in a few months.
But the new revelations from doctors within the coronavirus treatment facilities confirm the suspicions of the international community: the real figures are dramatically higher. While officials don’t give precise breakdowns of where and how many the deaths and injuries are, it’s clear that the cases have spread across all of Qatar’s population.