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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Georgia opens up as ‘quarantine-free destination’ for vaccinated Qatar travellers


Vaccinated and need a break overseas? Pack your bags and take a quick trip to one of Europe’s most stunning countries. 

Fully vaccinated citizens and residents of Qatar can get a taste of Europe’s most beautiful sights by visiting Georgia without the need to quarantine or show a negative PCR test, a Georgian official highlighted.

“Qatari citizens and residents who have completed the Covid-19 vaccination (both doses) do not require any quarantine for travelling to Georgia,” Ambassador of Georgia to Qatar, Nikoloz Revazishvili, told local news The Peninsula.

“Many people have been vaccinated fully which means they will be able to travel safely,” said the ambassador.

Those wishing to visit the country and hold a valid Qatari ID can get a visa on arrival, the official added. Meanwhile, vaccinated parents traveling with their kids are only required to show a negative PCR test for their accompanying children.

“Quarantine-free travel from Qatar to Georgia is in place for vaccinated citizens and expatriates. Visa is also not required. If you have a vaccination certificate which indicates that you received two shots of vaccine then it will be a quarantine-free destination for you,” said the ambassador.

Before the pandemic started, Qatar Airways hosted three daily flights between Qatar-Georgia. However, this has been decreased to one daily flight operating between both countries, though more are expected to fly soon.

“We are working with Qatar Airways to fly to another Georgian city, Batumi which is a very popular tourist destination,” said the ambassador.

“After the pandemic we need to return to normal life, easing travel restrictions. Thanks to the Qatari government for running a perfect vaccination programme.”

Spain opens up

Earlier this month, Spain opened up its borders to fully vaccinated visitors and recovered individuals travelling from Qatar, the Gulf state’s embassy in Madrid announced.

The European nation has also reopened its ports to cruise ship stops in an effort to slowly return to normality and revive tourism, with certain restrictions in mind for safety measures.

European visitors can also enter the country if they provide a negative PCR test to prove they are free from the virus, Spanish authorities added.

Those wishing to enter Spain will need to provide an official vaccination certificate proving they received the full course of the Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the trip.
Those who have recovered are also allowed to enter, given they provide documents to prove that they overcame the Covid-19 virus in the past six months.
The certificates can be in Spanish, English, French or German— or translated to Spanish— the government announced.
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – as well as two Chinese vaccines authorised by the World Health Organisation – Sinopharm and Sinovac – are all accepted for entry.
To ensure safety, travellers to Spain are required to complete a health control form prior to departure through an official website by downloading the ‘SpTIL-Ilealth application Travel -Spain’.
Spanish authorities have set a goal of receiving between 14.5 million to 15.5 million visitors between July and September after a long Covid-19 lockdown on tourism.
France also announced earlier in June the reopening of its borders from June 9 for travellers from Doha who are fully-vaccinated and hold a valid visa, amid a noticeable drop in Covid-19 cases in both countries.

“As of 9 June, Qatari or third-country travellers from Qatar, if they already have a fully valid visa and are otherwise fully vaccinated, may re-enter France without quarantine upon arrival,” the French Embassy announced in a post on Twitter, adding that it is working to reopen visa services in the coming weeks.

“Upon departure from Qatar, presentation of evidence of a complete vaccination cycle – 2 weeks after the second injection of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, 4 weeks after the injection of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 2 weeks after single injection for those with a history of Covid-19 is required,” the embassy said.

Additionally, arrivals will be required to show a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours, or a negative antigenic test no more than 48 hours, prior to arriving.

Second wave coming to an end

In Qatar, the daily reported Covid-19 cases have been drastically decreasing in recent weeks, with health officials assuring that the country is on the verge of ending its second wave.

For several weeks, the ministry of public health has been reporting less than 200 total cases daily—marking a 70 percent dip since April of this year. On Saturday, authorities reported only 147 new cases, 70 of which were community cases while the rest were returning travellers.
215 people have also recovered in the last 24 hours, the ministry said.

The number of acute hospital admissions and those requiring ICU has also drastically decreased in recent weeks, lifting a huge pressure from the health sector across the country.

Currently, the total number of active cases in the country is 2,339.

With fewer people now requiring hospital admissions for virus symptoms, Al Wakra and Ras Laffan Covid-19 hospitals have now discharged their last coronavirus patients and returned to normal services.

The recent drop in numbers can also be attributed to the availability of more vaccines as well as the opening of more vaccination centres, which allowed the country to exponentially ramp up its national inoculation campaign.

So far, 66.6% of Qatar’s eligible population have taken at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and over 1 million people in Qatar are now fully vaccinated. According to statistics issued by the ministry of health, over 2.6 million vaccine doses have been administered since the start of the vaccination campaign.

In early May, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health [MoPH] and Ministry of Commerce & Industry introduced a four-phase plan for the gradual lifting of restrictions following a significant drop in daily Covid-19 infections among the community.

The new regulations include allowing five vaccinated individuals to gather indoors, 10 to gather outdoors, and the opening of salons and barbers at a 30% capacity only for vaccinated staff and customers.

Phase two of the lifting of restrictions is expected on June 18.

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