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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Vaccinate or test weekly: School staff face strict new Covid-19 rules

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Education ministry imposes stricter rules for school employees, prompting backlash from social media users who described the measures as a”violation of human rights”.

No school employees will be allowed to enter school premises without showing the golden vaccination stamp on Ehteraz or providing a weekly negative Covid-19 test, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education announced on Wednesday.

The new set of stricter measures will be effective from March 21 to ensure the safety of educational and administrative staff as well as students, the ministry said, highlighting the importance of taking the Covid-19 vaccine for protection and prevention reasons. 

For employees who refrain from taking the vaccination for “unacceptable reasons” and later test positive or are in contact with a confirmed case, “no salary will be paid” for the entirety of the quarantine period, the ministry said in a tweet.

Read also: Eligibility age drops as Qatar receives more Covid-19 vaccines

Vaccination will be a requirement and all educational and administrative staff are advised to take the shot by the end of the month.

“The vaccination priority given to school staff will remain valid until the end of March,” the ministry stated.

Though the ministry fell short of enforcing mandatory vaccination, social media users said the strict measures provide little to no options for employees, with some describing it as “a breach of international laws and a violation of human rights.”

“After Qatar surpasses 10,000 active case, the Ministry of Education is breaching international laws, right to freedom, and the World Health Organisation’s laws by indirectly forcing employees to take the Covid-19 vaccine,” Twitter user Saleh Al Dosari said.

“Where are the lawyers/legal experts?” he added.

Another Twitter user commented saying: “On what basis does our ministry, The Ministry of Education and Higher Education, issue a decision prohibiting anyone to enter schools without a vaccination certificate?

“What if I don’t want to take it? Where is my personal freedom in this? Where is human rights in our ministry?” they added. 

The new announcement came as the number of active Covid-19 cases in Qatar surpassed 10,000 on Wednesday – the highest since early July and marking an 800% rise in the last three months.

Throughout February, health authorities reported around 400+ cases daily, raising major concerns over the possibility of a second wave.

According to the latest Ministry of Public Health figures on Wednesday, 471 new positive infections were reported, bumping the number of current active cases to 10,059.

Meanwhile, health authorities have ramped up the inoculation drive in recent weeks by lowering the age threshold for those eligible for the vaccine, opening up a new centre at the Qatar National Convention Centre as well as the Lusail drive-thru.


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