A government’s decision to impose, reduce or end restrictions, is based on many factors. For instance, how quickly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading, how infectious it is, and how likely it is to make people severely ill. Fortunately, COVID-19 vaccinations are very effective, significantly reducing the chances of severe illness, hospitalization or death.
However, many people getting severely ill in a short period of time (especially in areas/countries with low vaccination uptake), might overwhelm medical services. To keep healthcare accessible to everyone, governments imposed a lockdown, semi-lockdowns, or a combination of measures to slow and prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible. If this wasn’t done, a sudden increase in severely ill COVID-19 patients could have impacted essential health care.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, several variants of the virus caused waves of infections (in many countries, including Qatar). Some variants spread more quickly and caused people to become more ill (and being hospitalized). Therefore, the imposed measures, if any, may be different for each variant and its unique characteristics.
Measures might only be reduced if the spread of COVID-19 is slow enough to allow hospitals to treat everyone who needs treatment. The virus has an incubation period (the period between catching the virus and showing signs of illness) of up to two weeks. Therefore, governments often waited at least two weeks to see what the effect of their measures was.