Doha, Qatar -The health authorities told Al Jazeera that Qatar’s decision to impose mandatory quarantine on vaccinated travelers from six Asian countries was due to the “increasing number of positive cases” among these entrants.
Starting from August 2nd, all vaccinated travelers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines who have received an approved vaccine in Qatar will need to be quarantined at the hotel for 2 days. If they are vaccinated elsewhere Vaccines need to be quarantined in the hotel for 10 days. The Ministry of Health (MoPH) announced on July 29.
The announcement and the different requirements based on the vaccination location have caused outrage on social media, with people questioning whether they need to be quarantined for an additional few days despite the same vaccine.
*The latest news from the Ministry of Public Health on the travel and return policy of the State of Qatar*
The Ministry of Public Health announced the following updates to the COVID-19 travel and return policy, effective from noon on Monday, August 2, 2021: pic.twitter.com/CfQCKHLie1
-Ministry of Public Health (@MOPHQatar) July 30, 2021
The authorities stated that because the “risks posed by individual countries” are under “continuous monitoring”, law enforcement has been implemented.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Qatar has reported more than 227,000 coronavirus cases, including 601 deaths. Earlier this month, officials confirmed that they had detected a Delta variant of COVID-19 in the country.
Since the start of this year’s campaign, it has received more than 3.9 million doses of COVID vaccine.
“Based on the latest global data and the number of people arriving at Qatar’s ports of entry, Qatar’s travel and return policies have been updated to ensure the safety of passengers and the safety of the people,” said Dr. Abdullatif al-Khal, chairman of the committee. The COVID-19 National Health Strategy Team told Al Jazeera.
“This includes the restoration of short-term quarantine for travelers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. As a large number of people return to Qatar from these countries, we see that these travelers are becoming more and more motivated.”
In July, Qatar announced that it would resume issuing family and tourist entry visas for vaccination and recovery cases.
However, travelers question whether they need to be quarantined for longer-if they get the same vaccine from outside Qatar, they will end up paying up to 8,505 Qatari riyals (2,330 USD).
I understand that these new regulations are to protect Qatari citizens and residents, please consider shortening the hotel quarantine period for residents taking 2 doses of Coveshield in India to 2 days.
Because we will have 1 negative RTPCR before traveling, and 1 negative RTPCR after 2 days of isolation
— Lokikothur (@lokikothur) July 31, 2021
@WHO If all countries do not accept their own vaccines, what are the benefits of vaccines? A vaccine was taken from Qatar and quarantined for 2 days, and the same vaccine was taken from Pakistan and quarantined for 10 days. What kind of behavior is this.
-Umair_Mehfooz (@Umair_Mehfooz) July 31, 2021
Why distinguish between people who have received the **same** vaccine but come from another country? This rule seems arbitrary and meaningless.
— Shyam Aghara (@_shyam98) July 30, 2021
Al-Khal, head of the infectious disease department of Hamad Medical Corporation, told Al Jazeera that the decision was made because the authorities could only verify the vaccination in Qatar.
“The records of all citizens and residents who were vaccinated in Qatar are stored in the national database,” he said. “The Ministry of Public Health has not yet been able to verify all vaccination certificates from abroad, so a different set of measures still exists.”
Earlier this month, Qatar decided to continue its third phase of phasing out COVID-19 restrictions after the increase in reported cases, although some minor updates to relax the rules were announced a few days later.
A statement from the Ministry of Health stated that it will continue to “monitor key performance indicators to ensure continuity of protection for the people on the one hand, and normal social and economic life on the other.”
al-Khal added: “It is expected that COVID-19 cases will increase slightly after Eid al-Fitr, and the number of travelers returning to Qatar will increase.”
“The decision to continue to phase out the third phase of the COVID-19 restriction is as an additional preventive measure to reduce the spread of the virus.”