The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has issued a set of guidelines for home quarantine for those returning to Qatar.
Besides people from Covid-19 low-risk countries, those arriving from places not on the list of low-risk countries can also undergo home quarantine provided they have obtained a Covid-free certificate from an accredited testing centre no more than 48 hours before travelling.
Others will have to quarantine at government-approved hotels for a period of one week, after which the end of the quarantine period will depend on the result of a Covid-19 test.
Qatar residents are allowed to return to the country from August, according to a recent statement issued by the Government Communications Office. “For home quarantine, people have to stay at home in a room with an attached bathroom separated from other family members. They should avoid any contact with other family members and don’t allow visitors. They must use a phone to contact others and must not leave home and, in the event of a medical emergency, call 999,” said Dr Muna al-Maslamani, medical director of the Communicable Disease Center and assistant head of the Infectious Diseases Division – Medicine Department at Hamad Medical Corporation.
“Only one member of the family should be allowed to provide care to the quarantined person. The caregiver should wear a face mask and gloves while entering the room and should dispose of the mask and gloves and wash their hands immediately after leaving the room. A distance of at least 1.5m shall be maintained at all times,” she added.
According to the guidelines, people on home quarantine must use a sanitiser or wash their hands with water and soap frequently.
Everyone in the house should wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their face, mouth or nose. They must cover their mouth with a tissue while coughing or sneezing and dispose of the tissue in a trash bin and wash hands immediately. They should also avoid sharing personal household items with other people in the house and wash these items thoroughly with soap and warm water after use.
People must make sure to clean and disinfect surfaces and used items at least once a day, including door handles, toilets, tables, TV remote controls and mobile phones, among others. "Single-use gloves should be used when cleaning and these need to be disposed of properly, and make sure to wash your clothes separately from other people’s clothes," she said. "Don’t share towels with other people and use your own towels."
Those undergoing home quarantine must avoid preparing food for others and avoid entering the kitchen. They should eat food in their room and avoid eating or drinking with other people. "Be careful to wash the dishes separately, make sure to eat healthy food that strengthens the immune system and drink enough water (8-12 glasses a day)," she advised.
Those who have chronic health condition should ensure to have adequate supply of medicines. They may use simple ways to explain the situation to children and avoid any direct contact with them. They should also get enough sleep and avoid contact with any pet in the house. Quarantined people also are advised to keep with them enough face masks, gloves, a thermometer, fever-reducing medicine such as Paracetamol, hand soap, hand sanitiser, home cleaning items, including toilet and kitchen detergents, tissue paper, alcohol wipes and closed trash bins.
Those going on home quarantine must have suitable housing conditions with the availability of their own room and linked bathroom. They must sign an undertaking (including all the family members and household helpers) to abide by the rules of home-based quarantine. They must watch a video clip and review the pamphlet on home quarantine, and must apply preventive measures at home to protect others, Dr al-Maslamani stressed.
Those in hotel quarantine should take a swab on Day 5 or 6 of their arrival at the designated Covid-19 quarantine centre and must answer phone calls from the public health team after being discharged for home quarantine. They must agree to receive a visit from the public health team every 2-3 days, inform the public health team if any symptoms have developed and download the Ehteraz app.