Cairo: Qatar has updated its travel and return policy, exempting its vaccinated citizens and foreign residents from pre-arrival PCR testing after a marked decline in COVID-19 infection rates in the country.
The Qatari Ministry of Public Health has announced the update that will go into effect Monday, February 28, at 7pm, according to local media.
The update requires unvaccinated citizens and expatriates to undergo PCR testing 48 hours before departure from any of the countries placed on Qatar’s Red List travel list.
Exempted from the requirement are Qatari citizens and foreign residents who have been fully vaccinated regardless of their departure countries.
Earlier this month, Qatar eased coronavirus-related restrictions after a significant drop in infections inside the country.
The relaxation scraps obligatory wearing of face masks in open areas and increase allowed gatherings. Accordingly, citizens and expatriates are required to only wear face masks in indoor places including mosques, education institutions and hospitals.
A maximum of 150 fully vaccinated persons and 20 unvaccinated others at most are now allowed to be present inside an indoor wedding hall. The number rises to a maximum of 300 vaccinated persons and 50 unvaccinated others at an outdoor hall.
Meanwhile, commercial centres are allowed to reoperate at full capacity with all people, including the unvaccinated, are allowed entry.
Restaurants and cafes, issued the “Clean Qatar” certificate, are also allowed to operate at their full capacity in open-air areas and 75 per cent of their capacity indoors.
Other restaurants and cafes are allowed to operate at half of normal capacity in open areas and 40 per cent indoors, provided all customers have been fully vaccinated. Children under 12 years are allowed to get access to these places escorted by their families only.
The eased measures are seen as a new step towards return of life to normal in Qatar, a country of around 2.7 million people.