Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Qatar extends inbound flight suspension, lockdown of Doha's industrial zone until further notice as of April 1 due to COVID-19 activity.

This alert affects Qatar

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 01:23 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 May 2020 03:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions

Summary
Qatari authorities have indefinitely extended the nation's existing suspension of inbound flights and lockdown of Doha's industrial center as of April 1 to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Transit and cargo flights are exempt from the measure. Foreigners are barred from entering the country. However, residents returning from abroad will be permitted to enter and will be placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Qatari citizens in Qatar are not allowed to exit the country.

Qatari officials previously closed all nonessential businesses nationwide until further notice starting March 27. Essential services such as groceries, pharmacies, and hospitals continue to operate. Officials closed schools and universities, March 10, and shut down all modes of public transport, March 15. Additional travel restrictions and preventive measures remain likely in the coming days.

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.