Qatar bans entry of foreigners as coronavirus cases rise

Qatar, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the Arab Gulf region at 452, has banned entry of foreigners.

People wearing protective masks in Souq Waqif as the number of coronavirus cases has increased by 17 on, Doha, Qatar, Saturday, March 14, 2020 [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
People wearing protective masks in Souq Waqif as the number of coronavirus cases increase in Doha, Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

More people have tested positive for coronavirus in Qatar and are currently in isolation, the country’s ministry of public health said.

There are 10 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, the ministry confirmed in a statement on Wednesday, bringing the country’s overall total to 452 – the highest in the Arab Gulf region.

Most of the new registered cases were “related to migrant workers” who were already under quarantine, the statement said.

A further case was a Qatari citizen who had returned from Switzerland.

“The infected cases have been entered to complete sanitary isolation, they are in good health and receiving the necessary medical care,” the ministry of health said.

Amid growing fears over the spread of the virus, Qatar has banned entry of foreigners after suspending all incoming flights for the next two weeks.

Oman followed suit, and also prevented citizens from going abroad while suspending public transportation, excluding buses serving remote areas.

On Tuesday, Qatar announced the closure of  all shops and bank branches, except for food stores and pharmacies. Eighty percent of government employees were also ordered to work from home.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia reported 67 new infections, bringing its total to 238. The kingdom has suspended most private sector activities.

Kuwait recorded 12 more cases, including six Kuwaitis, an American and a Spaniard who had all been to the United Kingdom. That took the total number of infections in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to over 1,100.

The United Arab Emirates, a major international air transit centre and the Gulf region’s tourism and business hub, said starting from Thursday, all arrivals must remain in home isolation for 14 days or face legal action, state news agency WAM reported.

The UAE also banned Emiratis from travelling abroad and said it would indefinitely stop issuing visas on arrival from Thursday.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies