Qatar halts PCR testing before arrival for citizens or expats
Following a steep decline in COVID-19 infection rates in Qatar, the country updated its travel and return policy to exempt its vaccinated citizens and foreign residents from pre-arrival PCR testing. Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health issued directives that came into effect at 7pm on Monday, February 28.
The update requires unvaccinated citizens and expatriates to undergo PCR testing 48 hours before departure from any of the countries placed on Qatar’s Red List travel list. Exempted from the requirement are Qatari citizens and foreign residents who have been fully vaccinated regardless of their departure countries.
Coronavirus restrictions in Qatar were eased earlier this month after infections declined significantly within the country. Relaxation abolishes the requirement to wear a face mask in open areas, and it allows for more gatherings. Citizens and expats are required to wear face masks only inside mosques, educational institutions, and hospitals.
The maximum number of people allowed inside an indoor wedding hall is 150 fully vaccinated and 20 unvaccinated. At an outdoor hall, a maximum of 300 vaccinated people and 50 unvaccinated people can be present.
Additionally, commercial centers can reopen with full capacity and allow all visitors, including unvaccinated ones, back in. With the Clean Qatar certificate, restaurants and cafes are also permitted to operate at their full capacity in open-air areas and at 75% capacity indoors.
In the meantime, other restaurants and cafes may operate at half of normal capacity in open areas and at 40 percent indoors, provided that all customers are fully vaccinated. Children under 12 years of age may only enter these places accompanied by their families. The reduced measures are seen as a first step in a return to normalcy in Qatar, which has 2.7 million residents.