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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Qatar Stars League match suspended following COVID outbreak

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Doha is seeing a significant spike in Covid-19 cases with as people rush to get tested.

The Qatar Stars League (QSL) has decided to postpone Thursday’s match between Al-Wakra vs Al-Sadd after a number of players tested positive for Covid-19, the league said in a statement.

The decision was been taken in consultation with the concerned authorities in order to maintain the safety and well-being of the community. The match will be rescheduled to a later date, the statement added.

“A decision was taken to postpone Al-Wakra club’s match against Al-Sadd after Al-Wakra club confirmed that a number of its players have been infected with Covid-19 and the match date will be discussed with the Competitions Committee at a later time,” QSL said.

Those who purchased tickets for the match can file for a refund or receive tickets for the same fixture when it is rescheduled by sending an e-mail to tickets@qsl.com.qa.

Spike in Cases

This week, and ever since major sports and cultural celebrations came to an end, the number of daily reported Covid-19 cases has been on the rise.

On Thursday, the country reported 443 daily cases—the highest since May. Although many people are sceptical that the actual number could be much higher after images emerged of hundreds of people queueing for PCR tests in several hospitals and health clinics. When compared to the same time last month, the official number is still 158 percent higher. That being said, the number of ICU admissions remain relatively low, which could indicate that the positive cases are mild due to the high rate of vaccination rate.

Qatar recently confirmed the presence of the ‘fast transmissible’ Omicron variant in the country, raising questions on the impact of easing restrictions ‘too soon’ for global tournaments.

In the past year alone, Qatar hosted more than ten tournaments, including FIFA Arab Cup, GCC aquatic championships, Formula 1, and ATP Qatar tennis tournament. The tournaments attracted thousands of visitors to Qatar, resulting in full-capacity stadiums and little to no social distancing on public transport.

Spike in Covid-19 cases: Public negligence or large scale events?

Doha also hosted several social events in the past two months, including the annual International Food Festival, Air-Balloon Festival, live concerts, and National Day celebrations.

However, health officials in Qatar said earlier this month that the increase in infection rate in Qatar is due to the ‘negligence by people’ who have let go of Covid-19 measures set by authorities.

“Recently most of the infected people are unvaccinated including adults and children and those completed six months after taking second dose of Covid-19 vaccine,” Head of Vaccination at Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Dr. Soha Al Bayat said on Qatar TV.

“When we said that a person is allowed to not wear a face mask in open places, there was a condition – like these places should not be crowded. When people started neglecting wearing face masks, we observed an increase in the cases of Covid-19, seasonal flue and asthma,” she added.

That pushed authorities on Wednesday to re-impose mask-wearing indoors and outdoors in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Venue capacities have also been reduced to control gatherings to some extent.


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