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Friday, January 28, 2022

Vaccinated GCC citizens exempt from hotel quarantine in Qatar


*This article has been updates to confirm only GCC citizens, not residents, are exempt, as per changes made on the official ministry website.

GCC citizens are allowed to enter Qatar at any time, provided they follow the updated travel and return policy.

All GCC citizens travelling into Qatar can do so provided they take a mandatory pre-travel Covid-19 PCR test 72 hours before arrival, the Ministry of Public Health of Qatar (MoPH) said.

The results will only be accepted from approved Covid-19 testing centres.

Travellers must also download and activate the Ehteraz Application on their phones upon arrival using a local Qatari SIM card.

“The exemption from quarantine applies to GCC citizens entering Qatar through either Hamad International Airport or the Abu Samra land crossing,” MoPH said.

Fully vaccinated citizens who received any of the six COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, Astrazeneca, Covishield (Astrazeneca), Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, or Sinopharm are exempted from quarantine, provided they received the full dose at least 14 days before travelling. An official vaccination card or certificate must be presented as evidence.

Read also: Qatar breaks own record with over 40,000 vaccinations in one day

Non-vaccinated children below 18 years of age travelling to Qatar with their fully vaccinated parents will be required to hotel quarantine for 7 days through a booking made prior to arriving, via the official ‘Discover Qatar​’ website.

One of the parents will be required to stay with the unvaccinated children while the other can be exempted, the ministry rules stipulate.

“During the quarantine period, an Ehteraz Application -with yellow screen indication- must also be present. Parents cannot exchange roles in accompanying quarantined children,” MoPH noted. 

“Subject to correct certification and a pre-arrival PCR test with a negative result, GCC citizens who have been previously infected with Covid-19 and have then received a single dose of vaccine may be exempted from quarantine once two weeks after vaccination have elapsed,” MoPH stated. 

“The same exemption can be applied to those who have been infected after receiving a single dose of vaccine once two weeks has elapsed,” it added.

Required documents

Arrivals will only be exempted from quarantining if they present “an approved vaccination certificate with the date of their single dose; an approved medical certificate showing the date of their Covid-19 infection; and negative PCR test result from swab taken within 72 hours prior to entering Qatar,” the ministry stated. 

However, upon arrival, this category will still be required to undergo a PCR test at Hamad International Airport or the Abu Samra land crossing upon arrival, for a fixed QR 300 fee.

The ministry stresses that “all of the quarantine exemptions mentioned above are not applicable to GCC citizens who are traveling into Qatar from any of the 6 East Asian countries where mandatory hotel quarantine applies.”

It also confirmed that “the policy change is in line with the latest clinical evidence showing that the combination of antibodies due to previous infection and one vaccine dose are on par with fully vaccinated individuals.”

However, travellers, their families and individual sponsors who do not meet the vaccine criteria will be required to undergo a 7 day Discover Qatar​​ hotel quarantine at their own expense.

In this case, the health status on the Ehteraz app will remain yellow until the end of the quarantine period. 

Read also: Need a PCR test? Here are all the approved centres in Qatar

The latest updates come as health authorities confirm some 57.3% of those eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine in Qatar received at least the first dose of the vaccine.

This includes some 90.4% of those over the age of 60 who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 84.7% of this age group have already received both doses.

Over the past 24 hours, around 28,287 doses of Covid-19 vaccines were administered in Qatar, bumping the total number of doses since the start of the inoculation drive to 2,261,903.

Qatar is providing Pfizer and Moderna vaccines free of charge to all its citizens and residents.

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