Qatar on Thursday announced new precautionary measures to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus.

These include closure of cinemas, theatres, children’s play areas, gyms and wedding venues, including those in hotels and are effective from Friday.

The Ministry of Public Health has urged people to avoid crowded places and postpone holding social gatherings for the time-being, for their own well-being and that of the community.

The Ministry has also advised elderly people, and people with chronic health conditions, to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary, as they are more susceptible to infections. It said it continues to take all necessary measures to limit the spread of the virus and called upon all members of society to take care and apply simple, preventive measures to protect against infection.

This includes washing hands often or using hand sanitisers and keeping a distance of at least 1m (3ft) from people who have symptoms of illness. People should also use their sleeve to cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing or use tissue paper and dispose of it appropriately.

The coronavirus (Covid-19) contact centre at the Ministry of Public Health is accessible around the clock for any reports or inquiries regarding the virus at the toll-free phone number 16000.