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Qatar reimposes several COVID-19 restrictions

The government did not say exactly why it ordered the closures and capacity restrictions. Qatar has begun vaccinating people against the coronavirus and daily cases are relatively low, though increasing.
A man receives a dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the Qatar National Convention Center, Doha, Qatar, Feb. 18, 2021.

Qatar reimposed several coronavirus-related restrictions on Wednesday.

Qatar's Cabinet ordered that gyms, swimming pools, massage parlors and other similar locations must close. They also stipulated that markets must reduce capacity to 30% and private health-care facilities to 70%. They also said 15% capacity restrictions for indoor restaurants and 50% restrictions for restaurants with a government safety certification will remain. These orders will take effect on Friday, the state Qatar News Agency reported.

The Cabinet made the decision following a meeting with the Ministry of Public Health.

It is unclear why exactly Qatari authorities chose to up restrictions at present, however. The ministry reported 570 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. This is well below the historic highs of more than a thousand infections a day last spring and summer. On the other hand, daily cases have been rising since January, having started at around 200 a day at the start of 2021. Qatar’s population was around 2.8 million before the pandemic.

Qatar had the highest per capita infection rate in the world at one point last summer.

Qatar is also making progress administering vaccines against the virus. The ministry reported on Wednesday that 658,325 doses have been administered since December.

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