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09 Apr 2020 | 03:53 AM UTC

Qatar: Commercial activity suspended on weekends starting April 10 /update 16

Qatari authorities suspend commercial activity on Fridays and Saturdays amid COVID-19 restrictions as of April 10; follow authority directives

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Event

Qatari authorities announced the suspension of commercial activity on Fridays and Saturdays beginning Friday, April 10, with the exception of food and catering services, pharmacies, and restaurant serving take-out orders. The measure, which seeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, will remain in place until further notice. Stay-at-home advisories remain in place.

On Wednesday, April 1, the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management announced the extension to a partial closure of the Industrial Area in Doha. The suspension of flights at Doha's Hamad International Airport (DOH) has also been extended until further notice. Exceptions will be made for food and medical cargo. Gyms, including those at hotels, are closed. A ban on the entry of foreign nationals remains in place, as of Tuesday, March 17. All returning nationals will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

As of Thursday, April 9, there are 2210 COVID-19 cases in the country including six deaths and 178 recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

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 March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labelled the outbreak as pandemic.

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.

Advice

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.