Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Authorities in Qatar suspend commercial activities on Fridays and Saturdays until further notice due to COVID-19 activity.
This alert affects Qatar
This alert began 09 Apr 2020 13:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Event: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions
Qatari authorities have suspended all nonessential commercial activities over the weekend - Friday and Saturday - from April 10 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. The new preventive restrictions have been taken as part of Doha's efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Previously enacted restrictions in Qatar include:
- 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 citizens in Qatar are not allowed to exit the country.
- A partial lockdown of Doha's industrial center until further notice. Stay-at-home advisories remain in place for the rest of the country.
- Schools, universities, and all modes of public transport remain closed until further notice.
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.
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.