Qatar mandates testing, home quarantine for international travelers

The new requirements for travel come as Qatar continues its phased reopening of the economy.

al-monitor Employees of Qatar Aviation Services wearing protective gear as a safety measure during the coronavirus pandemic walk along the tarmac after sanitizing an aircraft at Hamad International Airport in the Qatari capital Doha on April 1, 2020. Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images.

Jul 22, 2020

Qatar updated its coronavirus travel guidelines on Wednesday, permitting citizens and residents to travel in and out of the country at any time beginning next month.

As of Aug. 1, travelers arriving from low-risk countries must take a coronavirus test upon landing at the airport and sign a pledge that they will quarantine at home for one week. After the quarantine period ends, travelers will be required to take a second test, which, if positive, will require they be put in isolation.

The list of countries deemed low-risk will be evaluated every two weeks, the Government Communications Office said. The 40 countries on the current list include China, Turkey and much of Europe.

Under the new rules, those coming from countries not on the list must obtain a “virus-free certificate” no more than 48 hours before their flight and are also required to home quarantine for a week upon arrival. Travelers arriving from countries that lack accredited testing centers will be required to pay for a one-week quarantine in a hotel.

The country of some 2.7 million has registered more than 107,000 cases of COVID-19 since late February. Of that number, 163 people have died.

In a recent interview with Al-Monitor, Meshal Al-Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the United States, credited the low fatality rate with the “early and proactive actions of the government,” including mandatory mask use.

The government has continued with its gradual easing of coronavirus-related restrictions, allowing a partial reopening of parks, beaches, malls and museums. Public and private gatherings are limited to five people under the current rules. By September, Qatar plans to have 100% of employees working from their offices, as well as a full reopening of markets and shopping centers.

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