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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Qatar updates its COVID travel safety list


The updated travel list will be effective from 15 November at 12pm.

Qatar’s ministry of health announced on Friday new updates to its travel lists of countries based on their COVID-19 safety standings. 

As part of the new updates, 181 countries have been green-listed, including neighboring Arab states Jordan and Lebanon. All Gulf countries have also made it to the green list (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Saudi Arabia) except for the United Arab Emirates.  

Currently, only 21 countries are included in Qatar’s red list.

Iran and Turkey remain red-listed due to an increase in COVID cases in both counties, and are joined by the United Kingdom, Georgia and Ethiopia among other countries.

Last month, the health ministry updated its traffic light categorisation system, scrapping the yellow list entirely and introducing a list of  ‘exceptional red countries’ instead.

Countries that fall under the ‘exceptional red list’ include: India, Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Sudan​​​ and South Sudan. 

Unlike travelers from ‘red’ listed countries, visitors coming to Qatar from countries under the ‘exceptional red lis’ are prohibited to enter the Gulf state if they are unvaccinated. 

Vaccinated arrivals from this list of countries must hotel quarantine for seven days and are required to obtain a negative PCR result 72 hours before their arrival as well as a second PCR at their quarantine hotel as well as a Serology Antibody test. 

As for people coming from GCC countries under the ‘exceptional red list’ (currently only the UAE), travelers 12 years and above and unvaccinated children aged 11 years and below will have to hotel quarantine for two days until their test results come out. Children in quarantine should be accompanied one by or both of their parents/family members who are fully vaccinated.

While unvaccinated travelers from red listed GCC countries can home quarantine upon arrival for a week, according to the ministry’s travel and return policy page on its official website.

Read also: Qatar drops yellow list, slashes PCR test costs in latest travel policy updates

According to the latest quarantine policy, travelers from red list countries who have not completed the necessary vaccination doses can enter Qatar but will have to either home or hotel quarantine based on certain conditions. 

Per the new regulations, Qatar’s citizens and residents who are fully vaccinated and returning from green-listed countries are no longer required to take a PCR test before departing the country. However, they will be required to take the test within 36 hours of their arrival in Doha.

Unvaccinated citizens and residents coming from nations in the green list will have to quarantine at home for seven days.

Last month the ministry of health reduced the price of PCR tests from QAR 300 to QAR 160.

Qatar also updated the list of approved doses, adding Sinovac and Sputnik vaccines to its list, which had already included Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. 

Travelers coming from Red and Exceptional Red listed countries are required to sign an Undertaking and Acknowledgment Form before arrival to Qatar.

The form can be downloaded from the MoPH’s website or the Ehteraz portal.

Those coming from Green List countries are exempt from this procedure.

Furthermore, travelers can now activate their Ehteraz apps using an international SIM card and non-residents must register online through the online registration platform at least three days before arrival.

Travelers who are fully vaccinated outside of Qatar with the approved vaccines are still required to submit the original vaccine certificate and other required documents in Arabic or English.

On Saturday, Qatar recorded 137 new cases, raising the number of active cases to 1,637. So far, 611 people have died of Covid-19 in Qatar.

Recently Malaysia’s Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said local health authorities “will look into the possibility” of including Qatar as part of various upcoming Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) as requested by the Qatari Ambassador Fahad Mohammed Kafood. 

“Our discussion touched on our countries’ mutual need to re-expand passenger air travel services between Qatar and Malaysia,” the Malaysian minister said in a statement. 

“Before this, we had five direct (daily) flights between Malaysia and Qatar. Now it’s only two flights daily from Qatar,” he added. 

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