Coronavirus: Qatar Emir bans non-citizen entry, reveals $23 bln stimulus package

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Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued on Sunday several directives to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the country including banning the entry of anyone except for Qatari nationals and implementing a $23.35 billion stimulus package to shield the economy, state news agency QNA reported.

The Emir ordered the stopping of all incoming flights to Doha, starting from Wednesday evening, March 18, for 14 days, with the exception of air cargo and transit flights.

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However, he allowed receiving Qatari citizens coming from any destination in the world, provided that they are placed in quarantine for a period of 14 days and urged citizens and residents in the country to avoid travel during the coming period of time.

The Emir also allowed the following categories to work remotely: Employees over the age of 55, pregnant women, and people suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart and kidney disease, and high blood pressure.

In addition, all students in government schools will start studying remotely from March 22, and students from grades one to eleven will be subject to a continuous evaluation system.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Qatar stood at 401 as of Sunday evening.

The Emir also announced several measures to shield the economic and financial sectors in the country from the impact of the coronavirus. They are as follows:

The allocation of QR 75 billion ($20.6 billion) to support and provide financial and economic incentives in the private sector.

The central bank to put in place the appropriate mechanism to encourage banks to postpone loan installments and obligations of the private sector with a grace period of six months.

Directing the Qatar Development Bank to postpone the installments for all borrowers for a period of six months.

Directing government funds to increase their investments in the stock exchange by QR 10 billion ($2.75 billion).

The Central Bank will provide additional liquidity to banks operating in the country.

Exempting food and medical goods from customs duties for a period of six months, provided that this is reflected in the selling price to the consumer.

Exempting the following sectors from electricity and water fees for a period of 6 months: hospitality and tourism, retail sector, small and medium industries, commercial complexes in exchange for providing services and exemptions to tenants and logistic areas.

Rent exemption for the logistics areas and small and medium industries for a period of six months.

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