A health worker, wearing personal protective equipment, collects a swab sample from a man at a drive-thru testing service for COVID-19 coronavirus in the Qatari capital Doha, on May 7, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Qatar has ordered suspension of all non-emergency medical services at private health facilities amid a spike in COVID-19 infection rates.

Qatari health authorities so far have confirmed a total of 179,964 coronavirus cases and 291 fatalities.

The government has decided to suspend non-emergency services and allowing the private medical centres to provide some services through “modern communication methods,” starting from Friday, the council of ministers said in a statement.

Last week, Qatar tightened health restrictions including closing recreational centres and reducing capacity of shopping centres and cinemas to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In an effort to encourage registering for getting inoculation against COVID-19, the Health Ministry has said that people aged 40 years and above are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of their health conditions.

Authorities have said that the vaccine is provided free of charge to all Qatari citizens and foreign residents.