Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Qatar reopen industrial area in Doha as of May 7; entry and exit to be regulated. Other COVID-19 related measures apply.

This alert affects Qatar

This alert began 07 May 2020 03:33 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Doha reopened the industrial area from streets 1-32, with entry and exit regulations in place, as of May 7. Officials had previously closed the area due to the high number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Companies are allowed to resume work, and individuals working in the zone are allowed to enter and leave the area.

Previously enacted measures in Qatar include:

  • Extending a temporary suspension of non-emergency medical services provided by private health clinics.
  • Extending work-from-home periods for nonessential employees in the government and private sectors until further notice.
  • The suspension of all nonessential commercial activities over the weekend - Friday and Saturday - until further notice. While the measure impacts shopping malls, cinemas, sit-in restaurants, gyms, and other commercial activities, it does not apply to grocery stores, restaurant deliveries, medical services, and other essential services.
  • An indefinite suspension of inbound flights to the country. 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 nationals in Qatar are not allowed to exit the country.
  • The closure of schools, universities, and all modes of public transportation until further notice.


Officials could reverse the decision if the situation changes 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.


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