The government of Qatar announced that restrictions introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic will be further eased from Wednesday, July 1, as the country enters the second stage of the normalization plan. From Wednesday, restaurants will be able to resume operations at a limited capacity and public parks and beaches will reopen. Offices will also be allowed to reopen at a maximum of 50 percent capacity. Private and public gatherings should not exceed a five-person limit.
Previously, Qatari authorities eased COVID-19 restrictions on June 15, as the first stage in a four-phase normalization plan. Some mosques have reopened, and flights are able to depart, although arrivals remain suspended. The mosques have not opened for Friday prayers.
The third phase, expected to begin from August 1, will permit the total reopening of malls, and the limited reopening of health clubs, gyms, swimming pools, and salons. Flights from low-risk countries will be permitted for priority passengers, such as returning residents. The fourth phase, from September 1, will see the lifting of restrictions on larger gatherings and the reopening of theaters, museums, libraries, cinemas, and mosques, as well as the resumption of regular flight schedules. However, this schedule may be subject to change depending on the number of new COVID-19 cases.
The wearing of face masks remains mandatory in Qatar, except if alone whilst driving or exercising. It is also mandatory to download Qatar's contact tracing app, Ehteraz. Checkpoints have been set up to check compliance, and a violation of COVID-19 regulations is punishable by a fine of up to QR200,000 ($54,930) and/or up to three years in prison.
As of Monday, June 29, there have been 95,106 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 113 associated fatalities. Further international 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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