by Sahar ElKabbash
Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has approved four testing centres in the Republic of Turkey for Qatari citizens and residents to take COVID-19 tests before returning home to Qatar. Those who test negative will be provided with a certificate, valid for 48 hours, that allows them exemption from the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine in Qatar.
The ministries of health in both Qatar and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding about the new test centres just days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Doha in his first foreign trip since the start of the pandemic. MOPH added that the State of Qatar is currently in the process of accrediting further reliable medical centres for COVID-19 tests for Qatari citizens in more countries.
The accredited test centres are Ankara City Hospital, Yeşilköy Prof. Dr. Murat Dilmener Emergency Hospital, Başakşehir Çam and Sakura City Hospital and Dr. Lutfi Kirdar Kartal Training and Research Hospital.
The test facilities were initially announced for Qatari citizens but in a later update, MOPH added that those with a Qatar Residency Permit are also allowed to take the tests. This will prevent them having to quarantine in a hotel in Doha when they return during phase 3 of easing lockdown restrictions, which starts on August 1.
Certificate holders are still committed to home-quarantine for a period of 14 days upon arrival in Qatar. They must sign a pledge of the home-quarantine “in accordance with the procedures and the standards set by the Ministry of Public Health”.
The move will mean that those looking to escape Doha’s summer heat will be able to holiday in Turkey without having to fork out the additional cost of a two week stay to quarantine on their return to Qatar. It’ll also be a much welcomed stream of income for Turkey’s hospitality industry as well as the airline business all of which has suffered greatly over the past few months. `
Residents who have been laid off or had their salaries reduced have been worried about the cost of compulsory two-week hotel quarantine, should they leave Qatar and wish to return. As reported by Doha News in June, a number of residents have also been stuck abroad since March without income. The option to test in Turkey and return home to Qatar, without having to shoulder the cost of 14 days’ hotel quarantine, will be a welcome one.
Will this encourage you to go and holiday in Turkey? Do you think that those returning will abide by the home quarantine rules? Let us know your thoughts.