Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Qatar to begin Phase 3 of easing COVID-19-related lockdown Aug. 1. Other measures remain in place.

  • Alert Begins: 24 Jul 2020 05:42 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 02 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions

Summary
Qatari authorities announced that they would begin Phase 3 of its plan to lift the country's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions from Aug. 1. Measures under the third phase include:

 

  • Allowing inbound flights from low-risk countries. Arrivals from low-risk countries must take a COVID-19 test and undergo a one-week quarantine.

 

  • Increasing the permitted capacity at restaurants.

 

  • Opening of all malls and shopping centers with full hours. Wholesale markets can open at reduced hours.

 

  • Allowing gatherings of up to 40 people.

 

  • Allowing 54 mosques to resume Friday prayers.

 

  • Allowing employees to return to work at a maximum capacity of 80 percent.

 

  • Increasing the capacity of private health clinics to 80 percent.

 

  • Reopening of nurseries and childcare facilities.

 

  • Allowing beauty salons, hairdressers, and fitness halls at 50 percent capacity.

 


Authorities have scheduled the fourth phase to start Sept. 1. Officials could reimpose restrictions or delay the phases depending on the COVID-19 cases.

Wearing face masks in public remains mandatory nationwide. The rule applies to all individuals except those exercising or doing sports. Individuals who do not comply with the regulation will face fines and imprisonment. Authorities also require residents to download the EHTERAZ mobile application for COVID-19 updates and contact tracing.

National carrier Qatar Airways (QR) has resumed outbound flights to select destinations. Qatari citizens and permanent residents can travel outside the country and return at any time.

Background and Analysis
Qatar's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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