The new set of Covid-19 restrictions, announced by the Cabinet on Wednesday, came into effect in Qatar on Thursday.
The precautionary measures come under the second tier of a four-level plan chalked out by the authorities following a spike in the number of positive cases in the country.
Among the measures are restrictions on restaurants and cafes, closure of playgrounds and exercise equipment in public parks, on beaches and at Doha Corniche, closure of food courts in shopping centres and malls except for takeaways and deliveries, reducing the capacity of markets, closure of indoor amusement parks and all entertainment centres in commercial complexes, and closure of all indoor swimming pools and water parks, among several others.
From Sunday, restrictions will also be imposed on weddings in the country. Yesterday, a visit to some parks and other open public spaces revealed that children's play areas and exercise equipment had been cordoned off, while food courts in malls had some people waiting to collect takeaway orders with social distancing measures in place. Seating areas had been cordoned off.
On Wednesday, Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the National Health Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, said at a press conference organised by the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management that the plan to reimpose the Covid-19 restrictions is based on the experience gained during the first wave and comprises four levels.
Each level includes a set of restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic. These levels have been chosen based on a set of epidemiological indicators to suit the severity of the pandemic, Qatar News Agency reported.
Due to the increase in cases, Dr al-Khal said it was decided to apply restrictions from the second level of the plan with some exceptions according to severity, noting that the first level includes imposing restrictions on high-risk activities first. The second level includes restrictions on activities with a moderate to high risk.
The third level includes more restrictions, which could be imposed if the infection rates do not decrease after applying the first and second levels, the report explained. The fourth level is considered the strictest as it involves a complete closure, which some countries have resorted to.
It is more important than ever to observe the preventive and precautionary measures against Covid-19 as Qatar is expected to witness an increase in infections over the coming weeks, Dr al-Khal had stressed. These include wearing face masks all the time outside the house, maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowds, among others. The elderly and those with chronic diseases should limit their going out of home, he added.
Yesterday, the number of new daily cases crossed 400 in Qatar, while the number of total active cases exceeded 6,000.
According to the daily data issued by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), there were 407 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 during the last 24 hours, of which 375 were from the community and 32 from among travellers returning from abroad.
The MoPH also recorded 172 recoveries from the virus in the same period, bringing the total number of recoveries to 146,474.
In total, there were 6,175 active Covid-19 cases in the country as of Thursday.