*MoTC issues host of measures to ensure safety of passengers
* Service hours for Metro and buses will be the same as before

The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) has announced a host of measures for the resumption of public transport services within the first part of Phase 4 of the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

This comes as Qatar continues with its precautionary measures to ensure the well-being and safety of citizens and residents from Covid-19.

In a statement on Saturday, the MoTC said the operators of public transit - buses and Metro - can resume services at 30% capacity from September 1. Service hours will be the same as they were before the service suspension and the situation will be assessed on a weekly basis.

The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management recently announced the details of Phase 4, which is split into two parts, with the first beginning on September 1.

The MoTC on Saturday stressed the need for all operators of public transport to comply with the precautionary measures stipulated by the Ministry of Public Health, run a Covid-19 test for all those who work in the public transit system and at stations, and ensure a negative result before allowing them to go back to work.

The measures also include checking their body temperatures daily and continuously, isolating those who exhibit disease symptoms and contacting the authorities concerned for any necessary precautionary and health measures.

The operators will be also training their staff on applying such precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

The MoTC has also stressed that operators need to provide 'compliance officers' according to the capacity determined for public transport (buses, Metro and stations). These officers will be responsible for ensuring compliance with all precautionary measures and that they are being followed by public transit users, who must avoid crowding in front of stations.

It is also necessary for the operators to co-ordinate effectively and directly with service and vital public utilities associated with Metro and bus stations such as the airport, shopping malls, hospitals and bazaars. The aim is to make sure that public transit customers do not crowd at these stations and do follow all precautionary measures, in addition to regulating the entry and exit of those who frequent the stations, Metro and buses, particularly Metro stations with limited capacity.

Further, the MoTC has also highlighted the need for all public transit service operators to put emergency plans in place for managing and monitoring transportation system users and to take the necessary measures to limit and control crowding, in collaboration with the authorities concerned.

The ministry will also constantly work with the operators to develop the necessary plans and awareness campaigns to protect those who are most vulnerable, such as the elderly and pregnant women with chronic diseases, to urge them not to use the public transit system.

The MoTC has also urged the operators to encourage users of the public transit system to book their ride tickets online, ban all workers and public transit customers from eating or drinking at the utilities, stations and in different modes of transportation, ban smoking at the entrances of Metro and bus stations and remove all ash receptacles.

Operators are also requested to ensure that all surfaces at stations and the public transit system are sterilised continuously and regularly, hand sanitisers are available everywhere while avoid putting them in open spaces such as bus stops, and safe social distancing footmarks are placed on floors and similar stickers on seats, in addition to receiving customers at a capacity not exceeding the particular occupancy percentage during the current period, which is 30% of the full capacity.

Additionally, the MoTC stressed the need for public transit operators to allow the public to use the system only after checking their health status on the Ehteraz app. Entry will be limited only to those with the 'green' Ehteraz health status. Also, people wearing no facemasks will be denied entry. Temperatures must be checked. Those with temperatures higher than 38C will be denied entry into stations and the public transportation system.

The ministry has confirmed that these instructions are updatable and modifiable based on the situation on the ground. It will conduct inspection campaigns in the public transit system and stations to ensure correct and full compliance with all back-to-business precautions.

The MoTC has urged the public as well as public transit workers to follow all precautionary guidance and measures for the safety and well-being of everyone. The phases of the gradual lifting plan cannot succeed without everyone’s compliance with the recommended preventive and precautionary measures, it adds.

The ministry receives complaints and suggestions via email [email protected], its social media accounts and the MoTC mobile application available for iOS and Android devices.

Dos and don'ts

* People not wearing facemasks will be denied entry

* Entry will be limited only to those with 'green' Ehteraz health status

* People with body temperature higher than 38C will be denied entry

* Public transit users to be encouraged to book their ride tickets online

* Ban on eating or drinking at stations and in different modes of transportation, as well as ban on smoking at entrances of Metro and bus stations

* Operators need to provide 'compliance officers' to ensure that public is following precautionary measures

* Covid-19 test for all public transit system workers; negative result required before allowing them to rejoin duties

* Daily and continuous body temperature checks for workers, and isolating those who exhibit symptoms

* Focus on prevention of crowding within and in front of stations

* All surfaces at stations and public transit system are to be sterilised continuously and regularly

* Ensuring social distancing and making hand sanitisers available

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