Skip to main content
29 Feb 2020 | 07:26 AM UTC

Qatar: First case of COVID-19 confirmed February 29 /update 3

Qatar confirms first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) on February 29; further spread of the virus expected in the near term



On Saturday, February 29, Qatar's Health Ministry announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. The patient recently returned from Iran and is currently being monitored by health authorities. 

The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani of Qatar has ordered the evacuation of all Qatar and Kuwait nationals in Iran as of Wednesday, February 26.

Representatives of Qatar Airways announced that the airline would reduce flights to and from Iran from February 26, through Saturday, March 14. The airline will also operate flights to and from South Korea during the same time period with a smaller aircraft due to reduced demand. Qatar Airways officials also said that all passengers from Iran and South Korea arriving in Qatar will be subject to either a 14-day home isolation or quarantine at a designated facility even if they are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. Those showing symptoms will be transferred to the designated facility. Flights to and from mainland China remain suspended since Monday, February 3.

Further international spread of the virus is expected in the coming days and weeks.


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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "'very high' at global level."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.