Lifting restrictions in Qatar is based on a set of key indicators and in the event that one of the indicators is affected, some restrictions can be re-imposed or the start of following stages can be delayed, warned the Director of Public Health at Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al Thani.
He was speaking at a press conference held on 2nd July 2020 where he added that the success of this second phase depends on the commitment of everyone – Qataris and residents – to control the pandemic and return to normal life.
He also advised that this is not the ideal time to travel and in case there is a urgent requirement to travel, then everyone should familiarise themselves with the quarantine rules in the country of arrival before traveling and adhere to the same.
MOPH has issued guidelines for the precautionary measures in the second phase of lifting restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidelines seek to provide guidance based on research into best practices to facilitate the safe return of activities gradually, while developing precautionary measures that contribute to limiting the spread of the COVID-19 and protecting the visitors and employees in each agency from the risk of infection.
MoPH urged everyone to reduce social visits, including family visits as much as possible.
“We are able to maintain one of the lowest coronavirus death rates in the world and we advise against travelling outside the country at this time,” he added. “The second phase is the actual first phase as people comes into contact in the complexes and markets, and we recommend the need to maintain social distancing so that the coronavirus does not spread between customers,” he said.
The second phase includes allowing limited social gatherings with a maximum of 5 people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
The Ministry advised people to be cautious and reduce social visits, including family visits as possible, and ensure that the requirements of the new phase are applied, including the accuracy of following all preventive measures, such as washing hands or sterilizing regularly, wearing masks, and adhering to a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters from others at all times, in addition to installing “Ehteraz” app.
The second phase also includes opening some retail markets, wholesale markets, museums and libraries to the public with a limited capacity, in addition to opening a limited number of restaurants with a limited capacity to ensure physical distancing, in addition to opening public parks, beaches and the corniche for all age groups with the application of distancing procedures and the continued closure of playgrounds, and allowing training in the open spaces and large halls for the professional category, with a maximum of ten people.
Vocational training courses are also allowed for small groups of up to 10 people indoors, and groups of up to 50 people outdoors.
The second phase also witnesses the opening of more mosques to perform the five daily prayers with limited capacity.
Shopping centers will operate with an increased capacity of 50%; however, all restaurants within the shopping centers will remain closed.
It also allowed the number of employees who start their work in the public and private sectors to be increased to 50% as a maximum. The restrictions imposed on inbound flights to Doha remain unchanged as in the first phase.
Director of the Public Health Department at the Ministry of Public Health Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Thani said that while more restrictions are lifted to restore life to normal, the precautionary measures announced by the Ministry of Public Health must be followed to protect ourselves, our families and our society as a whole.
He stressed that the transition from one phase to another depends on strict indicators and the extent of everyone’s commitment to the instructions, as restrictions can be re-imposed at any time if the data shows that there is a need to do so.
He pointed out that the past few weeks have witnessed an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among citizens and residents (other than expatriate workers), despite the decrease in the total daily infections in the State of Qatar, adding that the source of the infection is often due to family gatherings and visits, and the lack of commitment to measures, especially physical distancing.
The Ministry of Public Health advised other groups at greatest risk of complications from the disease, such as the elderly, pregnant women and people suffering from chronic diseases, to stay at home and not go out unless absolutely necessary and avoid all forms of social gatherings, including receiving visitors.
Key messages from the MOPH press conference:
• Over the past weeks, we have seen a drop in the number of cases reported daily, as well as a drop in the number of patients admitted to hospital and Intensive Care Units.
• We are seeing signs of overcoming the peak stage of the pandemic, and this is why we are starting to gradually and very cautiously lift restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus.
• The Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with other ministries and government entities has published a set of precautions guidelines, which provide guidance on best practices to facilitate a gradual and safe lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
• Gathering in parks should be 10 people or less and there should be a distance of 3 meters atleast while doing sports.
• There are a number of standards general precautions which should be followed by all and these include keeping 1.5 meters minimum distance between people, downloading the Etheraz App, wearing masks, regular handwashing and/or sanitizing, in addition to advising vulnerable groups (people over 60 years, pregnant women, and those suffering from chronic diseases) to remain at home.
• The Ministry of Public Health has also identified a number of precautions for each of the restrictions lifted. These special precautions can be found on the website of the Ministry of Public Health.
• The Ministry of Public Health thanks all members of the community for their active role and their cooperation in implementing preventive measures, which helped in overcoming the height of the epidemic, and the start of lifting the restrictions imposed.
• The process of lifting restrictions for COVID-19 is guided by a number of Key Performance Indicators. In the event that one of the indicators is negatively affected, some restrictions may be re-imposed, or the following stages of the lifting of restrictions may be delayed.
To read the precautions guidelines, please visit: MOPH
For more information, please visit: MOPH