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Friday, January 28, 2022

Qatar loosens Covid-19 restrictions as vaccination drive expands


Authorities have now increased the capacity of individuals allowed to gather indoors and outdoors.

Qatar’s cabinet has announced several updates to Phase 3 of the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions during a meeting held at the Amiri Diwan on Wednesday.

The decision came shortly after authorities reviewed a report by the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management on the country’s plan to ease restrictions.

Authorities added that they will continue to “monitor key performance indicators to ensure a balance between the continuity of providing protection to the population on the one hand and restoring social and economic life to normal, on the other hand,” according to a statement.

Read also: Qatar extends Phase 3 Covid-19 restrictions for extra month.

While it is unclear why Phase 3 was extended, it comes just a day after health authorities reported more than 200 daily Covid-19 cases last week. Meanwhile, the updates come shortly after health officials announced that Covid’s ‘deadliest variant’, Delta, was detected in Qatar.

Despite concerns, Qatar’s daily Covid-19 cases remain low, pushing the Cabinet to slightly update Phase 3.

The updates include allowing a maximum of 35 people (a bump from the previous 30) who have completed both doses of the vaccine, or 10 people who have not completed or have yet to receive doses of the vaccine, in outdoor areas of homes or a majlis.

Also, 20 individuals or family members residing in the same house will now be allowed to gather at parks, beaches and corniche.

Outdoor restaurants and cafes can operate with a 50% capacity for those that have a “Qatar Clean” certificate and 30% for others.

Indoor restaurants with a “Qatar Clean” certificate can also operate at 50% capacity while the rest can operate at a 20% capacity, provided that all customers are vaccinated. Only accompanied children can enter closed spaces.

Private beaches will continue to open at 50% capacity, with playgrounds and sports equipment finally opening for the public to use.

Shopping complexes will continue to operate at 50% capacity and children will be allowed to enter. Food courts will operate at 30% capacity.

Prayer halls and changing rooms at malls will also open, as per the updated decisions.

The new regulations will go into effect starting 6 August, authorities announced.

All other restrictions, including work capacity, souq, and health regulations remain the same.

Despite the latest changes, Phase 4 – which was supposed to take effect on Friday – has yet to be announced.

Just a day earlier on Thursday, the health ministry confirmed that restrictions imposed as part of Qatar’s Phase 3 will remain in place for the entirety of August.

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