Qatar extends quarantine rules for travellers to December 31

Travellers from high-risk countries for COVID-19 are required to obtain a ‘virus-free certificate’ prior to arrival.

A police car patrols an almost empty road in West Bay area in Doha, Qatar, March 25, 2020. Qatar has imposed a series of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, including closing of parks and pu
Qatar has imposed a series of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
Correction15 Oct 2020
An earlier version of this story stated Qatar was the second-worst hit country in the Middle East behind Iran. That is incorrect. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have more cases. Furthermore, it stated that arrivals from "high-risk" countries would need to adhere to home quarantine. In fact, these arrivals will need to go into hotel quarantine as is now reflected below.

Qatar has extended strict quarantine rules requiring travellers to isolate for up to 14 days upon their arrival in the country, local media reported on Tuesday.

“For all arrivals – including nationals, residents and visa holders – quarantine requirements are now extended for all arrival dates up to 31 December 2020,” The Peninsula newspaper reported, quoting the Discover Qatar website.

Arrivals to Qatar from “low-risk countries” will be required to take a coronavirus test at the airport and sign an official pledge to adhere to quarantine at home for a week.

The travellers will then be required to undergo a second test and the quarantine period will end if results come back negative. If it tests positive, the person will be transferred to a government facility for isolation.

Qatar Airways passengers arriving from “high-risk countries” will have to obtain a “virus-free certificate” no more than 48 hours before travelling from an accredited COVID-19 testing facility. They will then adhere to hotel quarantine when in Qatar.

They will be required to book a hotel at their own expense for a week to quarantine before undergoing a COVID-19 test.

These rules were set to expire on October 31.

Qatari nationals, permanent resident cardholders, and prior approved visa holders are currently permitted into the country. They will be required to undergo a coronavirus test or quarantine upon return depending on whether the country of departure is low risk or not.

The Peninsula also reported: “There is a daily limit on arrivals entering Qatar and demand is extremely high.”

The current list of low-risk countries, as per the ministry of public health’s website, names 40 nations and includes China, Vietnam and Malaysia in the Asia-Pacific; the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Greece in Europe; and Morocco, Algeria and Turkey in the Middle East.

Qatar is one of the worst-hit countries in the Middle East – after Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, and Morocco – reporting 128,405 confirmed coronavirus cases but only 220 deaths.

A total of 125,373 people have recovered from the virus since the start of the pandemic.

Source: Al Jazeera