KEY POINTS

  • This was the second child to have died in Qatar since the pandemic started
  • An infectious disease expert has urged people to get the booster shot
  • Qatar has officially recorded almost 300,000 cases of coronavirus

A 3-week-old baby died of COVID-19 in Qatar, as the Omicron variant has led to a rise in cases in the Gulf country.

The Ministry of Public Health said Sunday the baby was healthy before being infected by coronavirus.

"A three-week-old baby has sadly died as a result of severe infection from COVID-19," the emirate's public health ministry said in a statement on Twitter. "The baby had no other known medical or hereditary conditions."

The statement added this was the second child to have died in the country since the pandemic began.

“The Ministry of Public Health confirmed that although children have been less at risk of severe infection than older people since the start of the pandemic, a greater number of children are being infected in this current wave and needing medical care than in previous waves,” the statement read.

The ministry stated the death of the baby “is a stark reminder that people of all ages are at risk of being infected by COVID-19, and despite being rare, most countries around the world have sadly recorded deaths among young children.”

Qatar has officially recorded almost 300,000 cases of coronavirus and around 600 deaths, from 2.6 million residents. The baby was among the two fatalities recorded Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths to 626.

The ministry reported 4,021 COVID-19 cases in the country Sunday as the count increased in recent weeks after the Omicron variant was found.

However, Dr. Laith Jamal Abu-Raddad, principal investigator of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group at Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar, said the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant might end soon.

“The surge of COVID-19 cases in Qatar and other countries caused by the Omicron might end soon. Also those with previous COVID-19 infection and vaccinated are better protected from Omicron variant,” he said. “The Omicron spreads fast but the good thing is that we don’t expect it to long last. We should get back to the situation prior to the variant in a few weeks,” he added, according to The Peninsula.

Dr. Abu-Raddad insisted the most important step to be taken by people now was to get the COVID-19 booster dose to strengthen their immune system. 

“By now the COVID-19 virus has extensively changed from the original one initially found in China. Almost every two to three months we have seen a new major variant evolving. The Omicron is very different from other variants, it spreads fast but does not cause as much severe illness,” he said.

The Ministry of Public Health on Sunday also urged all members of the community to abide by the country’s preventative measures to contain the spread of the virus.

baby-g2a006e173_1920 Representative image Photo: Credit: Pixabay