Coronavirus: Qatar reports 1,501 new cases, most are expat workers

Workers wearing protective masks walk by on a street in Qatar's capital Doha, on May 17, 2020. (AFP)

Qatar reported on Sunday 1,501 new coronavirus cases, and two fatalities, brining the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country up to 34,521 and the death toll up to 23.

The Ministry of Health also reported the recovery of 657 coronavirus patients, raising the total number of recoveries up to 9,170.

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The two new deaths were a 66-year-old and a 53-year-old both of whom were in intensive care.

The ministry said: “The new cases are due to expatriate workers who were infected with the virus as a result of contact with individuals who were previously infected, in addition to recording new cases of infection among groups of workers in different regions.”

It added: “The number of positive cases between citizens and residents witnessed a significant rise, with the number of infections relating to family gatherings, visits and sharing meals together with relatives and extended families having doubled.”

The ministry said that Qatar “is still in the peak phase of the virus outbreak.”

Expat workers in Qatar

The state of expatriate workers in Qatar amid the coronavirus has been subject to much debate, with human rights organizations criticizing the treatment of workers in the Gulf state and saying that workers aren’t given the necessary healthcare support.

Doha denies all such reports and says that its authorities are “committed to protecting the rights of over 1.5 million expatriate workers” in the country.

Last week, a group of expat workers staged a protest in Qatar over unpaid wages. Social media users shared pictures of more than 100 men blocking a main road in one of Doha’s districts.

“In response to the late settlement of salaries, a small number of expatriate workers conducted a peaceful protest in the Msheireb area on May 22,” the labor ministry said in a statement.

“Following an immediate investigation (the ministry) has taken steps to ensure that all salaries will be promptly paid in the coming days.”

Almost 90 percent of Qatar’s population are expatriate workers.

- With AFP.

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Last Update: Monday, 25 May 2020 KSA 00:37 - GMT 21:37
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