All Qatar residents will be required to wear face masks outside of their homes beginning Sunday, May 17, to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The only exception applies to those driving in a car with no other passengers. Those who fail to comply with the measures will be sanctioned, either with a maximum of three days in prison and/or a fine of QR 200,000 (USD 55,000). Previously, masks were compulsory for employees of select sectors and in some public spaces.
Commercial activity remains suspended on Fridays and Saturdays, with the exception of food and catering services, pharmacies, and restaurants serving take-out orders until further notice. Stay-at-home advisories also remain in effect.
The Industrial Area in Doha has since reopened with precautionary measures in place to control the COVID-19 spread in the area. The suspension of flights at Doha's Hamad International Airport (DOH) also remains in place until further notice. Exceptions have been made for food and medical cargo. Gyms, including those at hotels, are to remain closed. A ban on the entry of foreign nationals remains in place, as of Tuesday, March 17. All returning nationals will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
As of Thursday, May 14, there are 26,539 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide including 14 deaths. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the outbreak as a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
The measures adopted by local authorities are evolving fluidly, and are usually effective immediately. Authorities are likely to modify - at very short notice - the list of countries subject to border control measures on arrival to the territory. Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
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