Important Things You Should Know While Living in Qatar During Covid-19 Pandemic

  • 2 months   ago

The State of Qatar has set precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of the citizens and expats in the country due to the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

If you are currently living here, these are the important things shared by the Government of Qatar (GCO) as it calls upon all members of society to adhere to the directives to stay safe against infection:

What should I do to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Apply the preventative measures recommended by the Ministry of Public Health to protect against infection and to limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Visit their website and social accounts to receive the latest updates.

What is Qatar’s current policy on gatherings?

His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has decided to take precautionary measures and ban all forms of gatherings by law.

In order to enforce Qatar’s new law on gatherings, the government has deployed mobile patrols and checkpoints across the country. Anyone who violates this decision will be detained.

Does the recent legislation banning social gathers include travel by car?

The Ministry of the Interior affirmed that the decision to ban social gatherings does not include transportation by cars, buses or trucks – as long as it is for a necessary purpose.

Who should I contact in case I see a social gathering taking place?

The public can report violations by calling 999.

Should I stay away from elderly people?

The elderly are the most vulnerable population to the Coronavirus disease and have been advised to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. People should still visit elderly people if necessary, but exercise caution and follow proper hygiene principles.

When should I start practicing home quarantine? What does home quarantine mean?

Home quarantine should take place following official medical advice. Home quarantine simply means remaining at home and avoiding contact with others.

Who should I contact if I see someone violating the home quarantine pledge they undertook after returning from abroad?

Some individuals signed official contracts allowing them to quarantine at home. It is a violation of the law for them to leave their homes during the quarantine period. If you suspect someone is breaching this contract, please call the dedicated hotline on 44579999.

Are Qatar’s medical facilities equipped to handle the increase in patients?

As a proactive measure, medical facilities are being prepared in different regions throughout the country to provide medical and nursing services for mild and moderate cases, with capacity expected to reach 18,000 beds in the next few weeks.

Which locations have been closed?

Many public places in Qatar are temporarily closed to the public. These include: cinemas, theatres, education services and support centres, shoe and watch repair kiosks, wedding and event services shops, cafes, children’s play areas, gyms and wedding venues, including those in hotels, public parks, beaches, mosques, majlis, funerals and the Corniche.

In-person money exchanges and transfer services in Qatar have also been temporarily closed. All Qatari banks and local exchange companies offer online transfer services and free mobile applications, allowing users to continue to easily transfer money abroad. Local exchange services and providers are waiving their transfer commission fees and will only deduct international correspondent fees.

The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management has announced the closure of all retail stores and bank branches in the commercial complexes and shopping centres with the exception of food outlets and pharmacies. Delivery orders and food takeaway services will remain operational.

Additionally, all shops and activities of men and women salons, as well as health centres in hotels, have been suspended until further notice, including home services provided by cleaning and hospitality companies.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has announced that processing orders in restaurants and cafes anywhere in the country is prohibited. The presence and seating of customers and the organising of gatherings in designated halls are also prohibited, with the exception of delivery orders and takeaways.

Any remaining shops are not allowed to operate outside the hours of 6am to 7pm.

 

 

 

Why has the decision been made to close public areas?

Social distancing is a proven way to prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, we are reducing the number of areas where people can congregate and spread the disease.

When will the suspension of public facilities be lifted?

The suspension will remain in place until further notice. Updates will be given in in due course.

Can I still go to the Mosque?

The Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs has announced that all prayers are currently suspended and mosques have been closed in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Are pharmacies and supermarkets still open?

Pharmacies and food stores will operate as normal and delivery services, including from restaurants, remain available.

Are there volunteer opportunities to assist with the Coronavirus response in Qatar?

Yes, the Ministry of Public Health is seeking volunteers to support Qatar’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Almost 35,000 volunteers have offered their services to the Ministry of Public Health, Qatar Charity and Qatar Red Crescent. The Ministry of Public Health is now working with the relevant parties to deploy volunteers based on need and expertise. Prospective volunteers can learn more here.

Workplace safety

In light of the outbreak of COVID-19, who is required to work remotely?

The Council of Ministers announced that the number of employees present within private and government entities should be reduced to 20%, with the other 80% of employees working from home.

Working hours for those 20% in the workplace will now begin at 7am and end at 1pm, excluding food stores, pharmacies, and restaurants that do delivery orders.

The following are excluded from these decisions:

  • Military
  • Security sector
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic missions
  • Health sector
  • Oil and gas sector
  • Employees of government agencies whose nature of their work requires their presence, according to what is decided by the head of the competent authority
  • Workers in major state projects

 

Additionally, His Highness the Amir of Qatar directed the following people work remotely: employees who are over the age of 55, pregnant women, and people suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart, kidney and pressure related diseases.

Can meetings be held in person?

All meetings in both the government and private sectors should be done remotely, using modern technology. If it is not possible to hold a meeting remotely, meetings must not include more than five people in person while taking the necessary precautions prescribed by the Ministry of Public Health.

Are there awareness programmes on COVID-19 taking place for workers and in workers’ housing?

Yes, a specialised task force has been formed to conduct inspections of workplaces and educate workers on preventive measures against COVID-19. The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs distributed multilingual awareness films in addition to health bags that include sterilisers, medical masks and detailed instructions.

What precautionary measures can employers take to protect the workplace from an outbreak of COVID-19?

Employers have an important role to play in protecting workers from COVID-19 and keeping them healthy and safe. Actions that employers can take, include:

Raise awareness of the recommended measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by providing educational materials easily available and in the languages spoken by employees.

Cleaning and sterilize work sites, housing, bathrooms, kitchens, buses, and others frequently used locations daily.

Distributing masks, soap, hand sanitizers, tissues, and advising employees on proper handwashing.

Training employees on how to apply preventative measures at work and home to decrease their susceptibility to the virus.

Make sure to do testing for workers regularly.

Are Qatar’s medical facilities equipped to handle the increase in patients?

As a proactive measure, medical facilities are being prepared in different regions throughout the country to provide medical and nursing services for mild and moderate cases, with capacity expected to reach 18,000 beds in the next few weeks.

Will those without a health card receive treatment?

A health card is not required in order to be tested or receive treatment. All guest workers will receive treatment for free.

Partial closure of the Industrial Area

What is the Ministry of Public Health doing to aid those in the Industrial Area?

The Ministry of Public Health has established three mobile testing units, in addition to six ambulances dedicated to serving the Industrial Area. The mobile testing units are carrying out randomised testing and referring those who may be carrying the virus to health centres to receive the necessary care.

What is being done to provide those living in the Industrial Area with the supplies they need?

Food and medical supplies continue to be delivered to those living in the Industrial Area with nearly one thousand vehicles entering the area every day to provide essential supplies.

What additional measures are being taken to provide health care services to guest workers?

The Ministry of Public Health and the Qatari Armed Forces have worked together to establish two temporary medical facilities to provide health care for guest workers who have been classified with mild cases of COVID-19.

What services will these temporary medical facilities provide?

The two temporary medical facilities are equipped with 4,645 beds, medical and nursing care available around the clock, a pharmacy, comfortable accommodation, health food services, internet, security and waste management.

Are buses for the transportation of workers operational?

Yes, however, buses will be carrying half their capacity to ensure a safe distance between passengers.

You can do your part to help control the virus transmission in the country by following these simple steps:

  • Washing your hands often or using hand sanitizers.
  • Keeping a distance of at least one metre (three feet) from people who have symptoms of illness.
  • Using your sleeve to cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing or use tissue paper and dispose of it appropriately.

Source: Government of Qatar

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