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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

UPDATE: No countries added to Qatar’s COVID travel red list


After an initial post was taken down by Qatar Airways, the Ministry of Public Health has issued a statement insisting that there has been no update to the country’s COVID travel list. 

On Sunday Qatar’s national airline posted on its website information that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia among other countries would be placed on Qatar’s travel Red List effective later in the day. A few hours later that information was taken down from the airline’s website. 

According to the initial post, an update to Qatar’s COVID travel list was going to come into effect at 6pm on Sunday December 26. The new list saw the movement of some countries from the Green to the Red list, including Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.

Screenshot from Qatar Airways website announcing the update to the country’s COVID travel list

The new updates appeared over the weekend on the national carrier’s website when users clicked on the ‘travel requirements’ tab, but have since been removed.

Following the confusion, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health has released a statement urging all members of the public to refer to the ministry’s website for any new travel updates. Making it clear that the information given by Qatar Airways earlier was in fact incorrect.

“The Ministry of Public Health would like to remind members of the community to refer to the Ministry’s website as the official source of information for Qatar’s COVID-19 Travel and Return Policy and to disregard misinformation circulating on other channels,” authorities said in a statement.

Currently, there are 176 countries on the green list, including most Arab countries (Palestine, Oman, Somalia , UAE, Yemen , Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya , Tunisia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Jordan), while eight countries are on the red list, including Algeria, Denmark, Dominica, Germany, Iran, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom

Meanwhile, earlier this year, 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 Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, and Sudan, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa.

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

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Vaccinated arrivals from the red-listed countries must hotel quarantine for 2 days upon arrival and are required to obtain a negative PCR result 72 hours before their arrival for all age groups.

According to the ministry’s travel and return policy page on its official website, travellers who are fully vaccinated outside Qatar with a vaccine approved by the Ministry of Public Health of Qatar are still required to submit their vaccine certificate and other supporting documents written in both Arabic or English.

Travellers 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.

Qatar’s citizens and residents who are fully vaccinated and returning from green-listed countries are not required to take a PCR test before departing. However, they will be required to take the test within 36 hours of their arrival in Doha.

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

Earlier this year, the ministry of health reduced the price of PCR tests from QAR 300 to QAR 160 to receive results in 12-18 hours.

To obtain results within 6-8 hours, travelers can get an Expedited PCR test for QAR 300 or in less than 3 hours for QAR 660Q.

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