Coronavirus: Qatar sets new COVID-19 policies for travelers’ entry as lockdown eases

Travellers wearing face masks, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, check their flights on information displays at Hamad International Airport in the Qatari capital Doha on April 1, 2020. (AFP)

Qatar began implementing its new COVID-19 quarantine policies for travelers entering the Gulf country as part of its gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions, the government’s communications office said on Sunday.

Qatar started allowing citizens and permanent residency holders to travel outside the country and return at any time, and residents outside the country to return as of August 1.

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The country’s Ministry of Health set a list of 40 countries it classified as “low risk.” Those are: Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand, Malta, Finland, Hungary, South Korea, Estonia, Norway, Lithuania, Latvia, Japan, Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Slovakia, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Morocco, Poland, France, Australia, Canada, Slovenia, Belgium, United Kingdom, Czechia, Austria, Switzerland, Algeria, Turkey, Iceland, Spain, Croatia, and Andorra.

The government said the country list will be reviewed every two weeks.

Qatar laid out its quarantine policies for arriving travelers:

Passengers arriving from one of the designated “low risk” countries are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport, and sign a form pledging to self-isolate at home for a week. After that, they must go to a designated health care facility to get another COVID-19 test. If the result is positive, they are transferred to isolation, if the result is negative, their quarantine period ends.

However, passengers arriving from “low risk” countries who have a COVID-19 free test result from an accredited testing center in the country of departure (given that it its date does not exceed 48 hours prior to flight) are exempt from taking a coronavirus test upon arrival in Qatar.

Passengers arriving from countries that are excluded from the “low risk” list, are required to obtain a COVID-19 free test result from an accredited testing center in the country of departure (given that it its date does not exceed 48 hours prior to flight). They must also self-isolate at home for a week upon arrival in Qatar.

However, if there are no accredited testing centers in the country of departure, travelers arriving from those countries will be required to quarantine in a hotel upon their arrival in Qatar at their own expense for a week. After that, they must go to a designated health care facility to get another COVID-19 test. If the result is positive, they are transferred to isolation, if the result is negative, they must quarantine for another week, after that their quarantine period ends.

The government also said that Qatari nationals, their spouses and children, as well as permanent residency holders are allowed to travel abroad and return at any time, while following the quarantine procedures depending on the destination country.

“Patients receiving treatment abroad at the expense of Qatar and their registered companions, and employees who are dispatched for work assignments, will be exempt from bearing the cost of the hotel, as the relevant body will cover the costs of the hotel quarantine if the traveler meets the conditions of the hotel quarantine,” the government’s statement added.

As for residents, the government’s communications office said: “Residents’ entry will be organized based on a series of priorities, including public health indicators, the nature of the needs of the various government and semi-government sectors and humanitarian cases, and through submitting return requests for permits via the ‘Qatar Portal’ website based on the above-mentioned priorities.”

“The employer shall bear the costs of the quarantine in the dedicated facilities for blue collar workers in the private sector and domestic workers at a nominal cost after obtaining the entry permit,” it added.

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Last Update: Monday, 03 August 2020 KSA 07:55 - GMT 04:55
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