Qatari officials have extended the requirement for all those arriving into the country to undergo a one-week quarantine period, as a minimum, until December 31, in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Those arriving from low-risk countries will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and sign an agreement to quarantine at home for a period of one week. A second test will be administered at the end of the week, with the quarantine lifted following a negative result. Arrivals from countries deemed high-risk are additionally required to obtain a negative test 48-hours prior to arrival. Should a traveler not be able to acquire a negative result prior to arrival, they are required to book a hotel at their own expense for seven days before undergoing a COVID-19 test. The complete list of low-risk countries can be found here.
The wearing of face masks is mandatory in all public places, unless alone in a vehicle or exercising. It is also compulsory to download Qatar's contact tracing app, Ehteraz. Limited public transportation services resumed on September 1, when Qatar moved to phase 4 of its reopening. Most public facilities and establishments have reopened with limits to capacity and opening hours. No more than four people are allowed in the same vehicle if not part of the same family. Gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and up to 30 outdoors may take place provided social distancing measures are respected.
As of Tuesday, October 13, there have been 128,405 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 220 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.