* 'In Qatar we are proceeding with confident strides on the right track'
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani delivered on Thursday evening a speech on the occasion of the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan of the year 1441 AH.
The speech runs as follows:
"In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate,
Brothers and sisters,
Honourable citizens and all the residents of the State of Qatar,
I congratulate you on the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan, hoping it will be a month of grace and blessings upon our dear country, the two Arab and Islamic Ummahs, and the entire humanity.
The circumstances of this year have made us replace Ramadan receptions with an address, and I do not say this from far, but rather from nearby.
This month evokes the highest values of our true faith, and the virtues of worship and treatment, that include acts of goodness, tolerance, giving without bragging, humility, ethical behaviours, performing duty and individual responsibility towards the other and the society in general.
The Holy Month has come while we, and the whole world, are in the midst of confronting the Covid-19 pandemic which medical researches have neither reached a vaccine for, nor an effective cure. Work is ongoing to reach, produce and distribute them, which requires the utmost levels of international co-operation.
Until then, societies can only protect themselves by prevention and stemming its spread. This is based mainly on what has become known as "social distancing", as there is no infection without contact, in addition to sterilisation and personal protection of all kinds, home and non-home isolation of those suspected of being infected, or for the more vulnerable ones to the complications of the disease.
We had early realised the gravity of the crisis and relied upon our expertise in crisis management, and our medical institutions and staff, benefiting from the best international experiences and practices, as well as the successes and failures of others. All this is carried out in collaboration with international organisations.
It was clear for us that this situation is exceptional and different from the epidemics witnessed by the contemporary world, and that preserving people's lives requires enforcing strict measures that we have already taken, including suspending education in schools and universities, reducing contact in public places, closing commercial complexes, entertainment centres, public parks and facilities, in addition to reducing the number of employees in public and private institutions, cutting working hours and other measures.
We have taken into consideration that these measures will not be successful unless they are coupled with a wide medical testing campaign to detect infected people and trace their contact-net, especially since the symptoms of the disease appear on the infected only after a period of time sufficient to infect others unknowingly.
Since the first day we have adhered to transparency, which is our authentic approach, and one of the most important conditions of prevention, because concealing the facts would expose people to danger.
The first party in this equation is the State and its institutions, while the second party is the responsible citizen who is committed to the instructions, and who abstains from contact or going out of his home - unless it is absolutely necessary - while adhering to sterilisation and other personal protective measures. Each individual must realise that negligence will not only lead to contracting the disease, but also to exposing others to danger.
The State has been keen on providing all the necessities for individual prevention in the markets. New factories have been established to provide some of these necessities.
We have strengthened the necessary medical staff and equipment, and established field hospitals that can accommodate thousands of people, hopefully we never need to use them.
This is an occasion to thank on your behalf and myself, the medical staff members, citizens and residents, who work with devotion and dedication on the frontline against the pandemic, as well as the police, the security authorities, the administrative bodies, all staff in the teams of the crisis, and workers in the vital services of the State and economic sectors, which are indispensable even during these circumstances. We also commend the tens of thousands of volunteers who have taken the initiative to assist the State's bodies and provide necessary help to those in need. This is a source of pride for us and an evidence of a high degree of social awareness. We appreciate what you are doing and I ask you all to take care of yourselves.
Numerous means have been introduced to continue remote work from home in the fields where that is possible. Meanwhile, the process of distance education in schools and universities has recorded a significant success. We will examine, in consultation with the competent bodies, the appropriate time for a gradual opening of different fields, but only after making sure of identifying all the cases that need to be held in quarantine, and that individuals, institutions, commercial stores and various utilities are complying with the strict prevention measures. We will never put people's health at risk.
The process of testing and diagnosis of cases that need isolation must continue even after getting back to normal life, otherwise, there would be a new outbreak of the pandemic; and we will not hesitate to take the necessary measures again, if needed.
Brothers and sisters,
The State has allocated large funds to confront the pandemic and so that our economy could safely surpass this critical stage. I have directed that a package of financial and economic incentives be provided for the private sector.
We are aware of the nature of the unprecedented challenge that our country and all States and societies, are going through. We are also aware of our people's potential, tenacity and unity from which we derive determination to overcome this pandemic, God willing.
We must all collaborate and join efforts to face the economic consequences of this pandemic, which are marked by low oil prices and a possible global economic recession. The objective circumstances indicate that the next stage will not be easy, economically and financially, for countries engaging in the global economy, and for those where energy exports is the main source of income.
We will take the necessary steps and procedures to cross that stage. We have started conducting studies and drawing up plans for that. Your co-operation with us will be vital to counter the repercussions of the pandemic in the future. This is what national responsibility requires.
Our economy should not stay hostage to fluctuations in energy prices, and I have directed the Council of Ministers to undertake radical reforms to liberalise our economies and limit the impact of such changes on it in the future. This issue is not new, we have discussed it over and over. Now is the time for action.
On this occasion, I ask the heads of state in the world, especially, the major industrialised countries, and the relevant international organisations, to cooperate, not to compete, in the field of vaccines and cures production. I assure that it will not be possible to counter the pandemic's economic and social repercussions without international co-operation and co-ordination at the highest and most comprehensive level possible.
In conclusion, I would like to bring you good tidings, that in Qatar we are proceeding with confident strides on the right track.
(They who are patient will be given their reward in full, beyond all reckoning). God Almighty has spoken the truth.
May God accept your fasting and good deeds.
With my best wishes to you on this auspicious month.
May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you."
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