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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Spain opens up for vaccinated Qatar travellers as Covid-19 cases drop

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Fully vaccinated? Well, you can now enjoy a quick getaway trip to Spain without any quarantine requirements. 

Spain has opened up its borders to fully vaccinated visitors and recovered individuals travelling from Qatar, the Gulf state’s embassy in Madrid announced on Monday.

The European nation has also reopened its ports to cruise ship stops in an effort to slowly return to normality and revive tourism, with certain restrictions in mind for safety measures.

European visitors can also enter the country if they provide a negative PCR test to prove they are free from the virus, Spanish authorities added.

Those wishing to enter Spain will need to provide an official vaccination certificate proving they received the full course of the Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the trip.
Those who have recovered are also allowed to enter, given they provide documents to prove that they overcame the Covid-19 virus in the past six months.
The certificates can be in Spanish, English, French or German— or translated to Spanish— the government announced.
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – as well as two Chinese vaccines authorised by the World Health Organisation – Sinopharm and Sinovac – are all accepted for entry.
To ensure safety, travellers to Spain are required to complete a health control form prior to departure through an official website by downloading the ‘SpTIL-Ilealth application Travel -Spain’.
Spanish authorities have set a goal of receiving between 14.5 million to 15.5 million visitors between July and September after a long Covid-19 lockdown on tourism.
Earlier this week, France also announced the reopening of its borders from June 9 for travellers from Doha who are fully-vaccinated and hold a valid visa, amid a noticeable drop in Covid-19 cases in both countries.

“As of 9 June, Qatari or third-country travellers from Qatar, if they already have a fully valid visa and are otherwise fully vaccinated, may re-enter France without quarantine upon arrival,” the French Embassy announced in a post on Twitter, adding that it is working to reopen visa services in the coming weeks.

“Upon departure from Qatar, presentation of evidence of a complete vaccination cycle – 2 weeks after the second injection of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, 4 weeks after the injection of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 2 weeks after single injection for those with a history of Covid-19 is required,” the embassy said.

Additionally, arrivals will be required to show a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours, or a negative antigenic test no more than 48 hours, prior to arriving.

Second wave coming to an end

In Qatar, the daily reported Covid-19 cases have been drastically decreasing in recent weeks, with health officials assuring that the country is on the verge of ending its second wave.

For a couple of weeks, the ministry of public health has been reporting less than 200 total cases daily—marking a 70 percent dip since April of this year. On Sunday, authorities reported only 103 new cases, 69 of which were community cases while the rest were returning travellers.

The number of acute hospital admissions and those requiring ICU has also drastically decreased in recent weeks, lifting a huge pressure from the health sector across the country.

With fewer people now requiring hospital admissions for virus symptoms, Al Wakra and Ras Laffan Covid-19 hospitals have now discharged their last coronavirus patients and returned to normal services.

The recent drop in numbers can also be attributed to the availability of more vaccines as well as the opening of more vaccination centres, which allowed the country to exponentially ramp up its national inoculation campaign.

So far, 66.6% of Qatar’s eligible population have taken at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and over 1 million people in Qatar are now fully vaccinated. According to statistics issued by the ministry of health, over 2.6 million vaccine doses have been administered since the start of the vaccination campaign.

In early May, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health [MoPH] and Ministry of Commerce & Industry introduced a four-phase plan for the gradual lifting of restrictions following a significant drop in daily Covid-19 infections among the community.

The new regulations include allowing five vaccinated individuals to gather indoors, 10 to gather outdoors, and the opening of salons and barbers at a 30% capacity only for vaccinated staff and customers.

Phase two of the lifting of restrictions is expected on June 18.


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