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Mandatory hotel quarantine exemptions updated: health ministry

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The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has announced recent updates on policies for travellers and returnees to Qatar, while officials answer frequently asked questions regarding the second dose of the vaccine.

An updated list of groups eligible for home quarantine was announced by the health ministry on Tuesday, in light of recent medical developments concerning the novel coronavirus.

Those with the following conditions will be exempt from the mandatory hotel quarantine and will instead be required to isolate at home:

  1. People aged 65 years or above.
  2. People who have undergone organ or bone marrow transplantation.
  3. Patients with health conditions that require immunosuppressive therapies.
  4. Patients with heart failure or coronary artery disease.  
  5. Patients with asthma (moderate and severe asthma).
  6. Cancer patients, including patients who undergo treatment sessions (chemotherapy and radiation therapy).
  7. Pregnant women.
  8. Breastfeeding mothers who are caring for children aged from 0 to 5 years.
  9. Patients with acute kidney failure (end-stage renal failure) or those who undergo dialysis treatment.
  10. Patients with chronic liver disease.
  11. Patients who have had lower limb amputations.
  12. People with disabilities who are dependent on other people to carry out their daily activities.
  13. Children with disabilities and their mothers.
  14. Patients with epilepsy who receive epilepsy treatment.
  15. Patients with diabetic foot disease.
  16. People who have a first-degree relative who passed away within the past 10 days.
  17. People with mental health problems who are treated with medication, and whose health condition may deteriorate if they are kept in enclosed spaces.
  18. Diabetics who suffer from neuropathy, kidney or retinal diseases or other types of diabetes complications.
  19. Minors (aged below 18 years) who travel without their parents/guardians (not accompanied by an adult).

This update will be applied to arrivals entering from all ports of entry into the country from January 24 at 2pm.

The new decision by the ministry applies to “Qatari citizens and residents, their family members, and their travelling party who share the same national address, regardless of the country they are departing from,” according to MoPH.

Read also: Second dose of COVID-19 vaccine rolls out amid Qatar inoculation programme

Those who do not tick off any of the new categories must continue to quarantine at designated hotels upon return, which must be reserved before arrival.

“The exemption from hotel quarantine does not include visitors coming to the country,” according to MoPH.

The ministry pointed out that the decisions announced are subject to adjustment in cases such as “inappropriate housing conditions” or a sudden spike in COVID-19 infections in the country.

In such cases, hotel quarantine policy would be implemented to insure safety. 

“Furthermore, travellers with chronic health conditions must register themselves for the ‘MyHealth’ patient portal online to obtain a medical report and a COVID-19 test result from an approved health centre within 72 hours prior departure, or apply for a chronic condition certificate online through Hamad Medical Corporation or Primary Health Care Corporation websites,” the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Medical Director of Hamad General Hospital Dr. Yousef Al Maslamani said there has been no official announcements from authorities on whether travellers that have already taken two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be required to quarantine.

However, the doctor said the purpose of the vaccine is to protect people from picking up symptoms of the disease and preventing any new infections.

“This is the ultimate goal of vaccination and one of the benefits of vaccination will be that a person would be able to travel and return without quarantine,” he explained. 

However, he didn’t mention when or how it will be implemented. 


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