* Cabinet announces relaxations of Covid-19 measures
* Restrictions on entry to closed public places lifted; no rapid antigen test needed for employees in government and private sectors, or to enter public facilities
* Checking of vaccination or immune status not required to enter closed indoor public areas
* Masks needed only inside healthcare facilities, on public transport and for customer service employees working indoors
* No more daily Covid data from May 22, MoPH to switch to weekly summary
Last updated: May 18 2022 10:46 PM
Starting May 21, it will no longer be mandatory to wear masks in most closed public places in the country, except in certain cases.
This and other relaxations of Covid-19 measures were announced at the Cabinet's regular meeting, which was chaired HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani at the Amiri Diwan Wednesday, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
Following the meeting, HE the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Sulaiti issued a statement giving the details of the proceedings.
The Cabinet listened to the explanation given by HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari on the latest developments regarding the steps taken to limit the spread of Covid-19 in the country. After reviewing the report of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management regarding the plan to gradually lift the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, it decided the following:
1. Lifting restrictions imposed on people's entry to all closed public places, while continuing to check the green status on the Ehteraz application when entering these places.
2. Continuing to adhere to the requirements set by the Ministry of Public Health for holding any conference, exhibition or event.
3. The continuation of all employees in both the government and private sectors to carry out their work at their workplace.
4. Not obligating employees and workers in the government and private sectors to undergo a Covid-19 rapid antigen test approved by the MoPH.
5. Citizens, residents and visitors are not required to wear masks in closed public places unless they are inside health facilities or use public transportation.
6. Not obligating employees and workers in the government and private sectors whose nature of work requires being in open spaces and communicating with the public to wear masks during their work period, while obligating them to wear masks if the nature of their work requires dealing with the public in closed places.
7. Continuing to oblige all citizens, residents and visitors to activate the Ehteraz application on smartphones when leaving the house for any reason.
"In this regard, adherence to the health requirements, procedures, precautionary measures and controls determined by the MoPH shall be considered," QNA said.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI), MoPH, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and other government agencies - each within its jurisdiction - shall take the necessary measures in this regard to ensure adherence to health requirements, procedures, precautionary measures and established controls, it added.
The decisions will come into force as of Saturday, May 21, and remain in place until further notice.
Meanwhile, following the Cabinet announcement on the lifting of Covid-19 preventive measures "based on the joint efforts of the government institutions concerned, the spirit of co-operation shown by citizens and residents in Qatar and the very high vaccination rates that enabled us to succeed in combating the Covid-19 pandemic and ease restrictions for this stage", the MoPH issued further details related to the changes.
These are as follows:
* Wearing of face masks (effective May 21)
The wearing of face masks is now mandatory in only the following situations: for all individuals within healthcare facilities (workers and visitors); for all individuals on public transport; and for customer service employees working indoors, including cashiers, receptionists and security personnel.
The ministry said people are advised to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and others (particularly those who they care for) by wearing face masks in indoor areas if they are vulnerable, have chronic conditions, have symptoms or are near people who seem to have symptoms and when in a crowded or poorly ventilated area.
* Proof of vaccination or immune status (effective May 21)
Checking of vaccination or immune status is not required any more to enter closed indoor public areas. A green Ehteraz status is still required to enter public indoor areas.
* Rapid antigen tests for unvaccinated individuals (effective May 21)
The requirement to have a negative rapid antigen test for Covid-19 for unvaccinated or non-immune individuals to enter public facilities is lifted for all areas.
* Approvals for organising events (effective May 19)
Event organisers are not required any more to seek prior approval from the Ministry of Public Health to hold events. Organisers must submit an application to the competent authority to obtain the necessary approval to hold the event and adhere to the following:
- Follow the precautionary and preventive measures stated in the events Covid-19 safety protocol on the MoPH website.
- Prepare and submit a plan to mitigate risk of Covid-19 in order to ensure the application of all Covid-19 preventive measures related to the event.
- Assign a person responsible for compliance with these procedures on their part.
- Sign the pledge (undertaking) to abide by the MoPH Covid-19 precautionary measures.
The MoPH will work closely with the MoI to conduct random inspections of events and activities to assess organisers’ adherence to the Covid-19 preventive measures.
* Changes to Covid-19 data publishing
From Sunday, May 22, the MoPH will cease the daily publishing of Covid-19 data on social media and switch to a weekly summary. The MoPH’s website will continue to be updated daily with all the key Covid-19 data, including new cases, hospitalisations, deaths, the number of vaccines administered and the number of recovered patients. The weekly Covid-19 data summary will be posted on social media every Monday, commencing Monday, May 30.
The ministry said the lifting of Covid-19 preventive measures comes in light of the continued low numbers of Covid-19 cases in Qatar in recent weeks, mainly due to "very high vaccination rates and the great co-operation of the community". This has contributed to the success of Qatar’s efforts to combat the pandemic and, therefore, most aspects of life have now returned to normal.