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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09DOHA307
2009-05-07 13:52:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Doha
Cable title:  

TFFLU01 QATAR H1N1 STATUS REPORT

Tags:   KFLU  AEMR  AMED  ASEC  CASC  KFLO  TBIO  KSAF  KPAO  PREL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO8719
PP RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR
DE RUEHDO #0307/01 1271352
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071352Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9039
INFO RHMFIUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0747
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DOHA 000307 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFLU AEMR AMED ASEC CASC KFLO TBIO KSAF KPAO PREL
PINR, AMGT, MG, QA
SUBJECT: TFFLU01 QATAR H1N1 STATUS REPORT

REF: DOHA 288

----------------
(SBU) KEY POINTS
----------------

-- There are no confirmed cases of H1N1 in Qatar as of May 7, 2009.


-- Embassy's Pandemic Influenza Working Group continues monitoring
the situation in Qatar and coordinating preventive measures.
Embassy and U.S. military reps will meet May 11 with Qatar's
Director of Public Health to discuss possible future restrictions,
particularly as they may impact U.S. military operations in/via
Qatar.

-- Qatar has stockpiles of 2.6 million N95 respirators and Tamiflu
courses for 20 percent of the population.

-- The airport has enhanced its entry screening procedures and will
install thermal screeners by May 8. Sick passengers will be tested
at the airport clinic and, if type A virus is discovered, isolated
at a local hospital until lab results confirm if it is H1N1.

End Key Points.



1. (SBU) There are no confirmed H1N1 cases in Qatar as of 1600 local
on May 7, 2009.

Embassy Actions


--------------------------





2. (SBU) Embassy's Pandemic Influenza Working Group continues to
regularly consult on latest developments. Embassy was involved in
quashing one rumor of a sick student/family at the American School
of Doha, and realizes rumor control is likely to become a more
significant need in the days to come.



3. (SBU) The Health Unit and Regional Security Office are
collaborating on a briefing to be delivered next week to all Embassy
staff and family members on proper hygiene and instructions on when
to stay at home.



4. (SBU) Embassy and U.S. military medical representatives from the
two bases in Qatar will meet Monday, May 11 with Qatar's Director of
Public Health to exchange information and learn about possible
future government restrictions should the virus spread to Qatar.
(Note: Embassy took particular note of the new policies in Kuwait
requiring travelers to report to medical facilities within 3 and 7
days of arrival. Since Qatar is also used as a major transit point
for U.S. military personnel, similar requirements here would impact
military operations).

Qatari Preparations


--------------------------





5. (U) In a May 7 briefing, Dr. Shazia Nadeem and Dr. Ayman Diab
from the Ministry of Health's Emergency Preparedness Division
updated the diplomatic corps on current procedures and preparations
in case the pandemic spreads to Qatar.



6. (U) Qatar currently has stockpiles of 2.6 million N95
respirators, and has an order in place to bring that to 5 million.
(Note: Qatar's population is about 1.8 million residents maximum).



7. (U) According to these officials, Qatar currently has stockpiles
of Tamiflu courses for 20 percent of the population - more doses are
on order and the GOQ expects to eventually have doses available for
25 percent of the population.



8. (U) The Qatari Ministry of Health is providing daily updates for
practitioners and recommending an increase in infection control
precautions. The Ministry of Health has also reportedly removed
antiviral medications from the shelves of local pharmacies to
prevent hoarding and misuse of the medication.

Travel Procedures


--------------------------





9. (U) According to the country's national carrier, Qatar Airways,
if passengers are identified prior to boarding any inbound or
outbound flight as having fever or flu-like symptoms, they will be
referred to a local medical center to determine their suitability to
travel.


DOHA 00000307 002 OF 002




10. (U) No mandatory/compulsory entry screening measures are in
place as of May 7, 2009. However, leaflets/questionnaires about H1N1
are distributed to passengers during flights into Qatar. All Qatar
Airways staff also wear masks during flights to/from affected areas
and distribute masks to passengers, though they do not require
passengers to wear them.



11. (U) According to the Ministry of Health, the government will
install six thermal screeners at the sole international airport
(Doha) by May 8, 2009. Two more machines are on order and will be
installed as soon as they arrive.



12. (U) Currently, if an arriving passenger is identified as a
possible carrier of H1N1, they will be taken to the airport clinic
and given a flu test. The airport clinic has capabilities to do an
influenza rapid test, which takes between 15 to 20 minutes to
complete. Specific test kits have been ordered for H1N1 and are
expected to arrive in Qatar next week, but, until then, all
diagnostic specimens for confirmation of H1N1 would be sent to
NAMRU-3 Cairo. If the passenger tests negative for type A flu, they
will be released and allowed to leave the airport. If they test
positive, they will be conveyed by Civil Defense Ambulance to a
local hospital (Hamad) for further testing, evaluation, and
confirmation of H1N1 infection. The passenger will be isolated and
placed on a 5 day course of antiviral medication. The passenger
will not be allowed to leave the country until they have completed
the full course of antiviral medication.



13. (U) Currently, there is no plan in place to screen passengers
for H1N1 as they exit Qatar.

Future Actions


--------------------------





14. (U) Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Health Ministers met May 2 in
Riyadh and will re-convene May 9.



15. (U) The Ministry of Health is also planning increased public
education through TV and newspapers.


RATNEY