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Monday, June 14, 2021

New quarantine exemptions for vaccinated GCC citizens

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The ministry issued an updated quarantine exemption criteria exclusively for GCC citizens and people they are accompanied with. 

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced on Saturday the quarantine exemption criteria for GCC citizens, their families, and household employees who are vaccinated and planning to visit Qatar.

The new criteria, effective from May 7, only accepts anti-Covid shots that are approved by Qatar: Pfizer BioNtech and Moderna. 

“GCC citizens, their families, and their household employees arriving in Qatar must have a pre-travel Covid-19 PCR test conducted at a Covid-19 testing centre approved by their local ministry of health 72 hours prior to their departure of their country of origin.”

Those who received the last shot of the approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to departure will be exempted from quarantining upon arrival.

“Travellers will be asked to produce an official vaccination card upon arrival in Qatar,” the report said. 

However, travellers, their families and individual sponsors who do not meet the vaccine criteria will be required to undergo a 7 day hotel quarantine at a designated hotel to be booked via Discover Qatar Online Application, prior to arrival in Qatar. 

Read also: Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 to be authorised for use ‘by next week’

They will also be asked to download and activate the Ehteraz Application on their phones. A yellow screen will appear indicating that they are in the quarantine phase. 

“Children who do not meet the vaccination criteria, but are accompanied by parents who do meet the vaccination criteria, must undergo a 7 day hotel quarantine at a designated hotel to be selected via Discover Qatar Online Application prior to arrival in Qatar.”

One of the parents will have to stay with the unvaccinated children while the other can be exempted. 

“During the quarantine period, an Ehteraz Application -with yellow screen indication- must also be present. Parents cannot exchange roles in accompanying quarantined children,” MoPH noted. 

Last week, reports said the US’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now considering authorising the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in kids aged 12 to 15 years old in the next few days, according to federal officials familiar with the agency’s plans.

The giant pharmaceutical company has been conducting countless trials to ensure the safety of vaccines for adolescents.

Pfizer-BioNTech has previously announced that clinical trials found no symptomatic infections among vaccinated children aged 12 to 15.

According to previous studies, the shot appeared to be extremely effective on kids, even more so than adults. Pfizer said children produced “strong antibodies” and experienced no serious side effects. 

The recent findings could ease the return to normalcy for thousands of families in Qatar, especially as the national vaccination campaign expands.

Vaccinating children against Covid-19 is extremely crucial to raise the level of immunity among the population, especially during the current second wave in Qatar which health officials say has seen more infections among children.

If Pfizer gets approval to vaccinate kids, it is anticipated that many restrictions will be lifted and life will be easier for parents and travellers around the world. 

The ministry stressed that “all individuals undergoing hotel quarantine will be subjected to the applicable quarantine protocols and are not allowed to access public areas or be present therein unless their Ehteraz screen indication is green.”


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