Qatar Removes COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Ahead of FIFA World Cup

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Qatar has now removed all coronavirus-related entry restrictions. With the 2022 FIFA World Cup fast approaching, the Middle-Eastern state has fully reopened travel after more than 2 years of anti-COVID-19 measures.

On November 1, 2022, Qatar’s Health Ministry lifted its remaining travel restrictions in preparation for the upcoming soccer tournament.

The final COVID-19 travel regulations to be removed were the requirement to take a test.

By making it easier for international travelers to enter the country, Qatar hopes to capitalize on the World Cup by encouraging more visitors to make the trip.

The FIFA World Cup is due to start on November 20, when Qatar will face Ecuador in the opening match of Group A.

Qatar Removes COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Ahead of FIFA World Cup

COVID-19 Testing No Longer Required for Qatar

From November 1, 2022, passengers travelling to Qatar no longer need to take a COVID-19 test.

Previously, visitors had to present a negative test result on arrival in Qatar, while Qatari citizens and residents of the country had to take a test on arrival.

A statement published by the Qatari government read:

“According to official notices issued Wednesday (October 26), proof of testing is no longer required for entry into Qatar from November 1 to December 18. Proof of health status via ‘Ehteraz’ will still be required for entry, but mandatory testing for entry will no longer be required during this period.”

The official government website now states that visitors are no longer required to pre-register on the Ehteraz app to enter the country, as of November 1.

However, it will be necessary to download the Ehteraz app to present health status if the visitor needs to access healthcare facilities while staying in Qatar. Therefore, it is still highly recommended to register before traveling.

Are There Still COVID-19 Regulations in Qatar?

Although there are no longer any restrictions on entry to Qatar, there are still certain measures in place within the country itself.

For example, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 while staying in Qatar are required to self-isolate.

Visitors entering both public and private healthcare premises must be registered with the Ehteraz mobile app.

Visitors arriving for the World Cup should familiarize themselves with Qatar’s COVID-19 protocols and abide by the rules.

Traveling to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar from November 20 to December 18, 2022. Thousands of football fans from around the world are planning to make the trip to attend matches or to simply be there, where the tournament is happening.

Traveling to the World Cup from abroad will be much easier now that the travel restrictions and testing requirements have been lifted.

Qatar has also facilitated travel by introducing the Hayya Card for travelers with tickets to the matches. Holders of this card can enter the country visa-free during the World Cup.

Individuals who do not have tickets to the games or a Hayya Card must still get the Qatar eVisa to travel to the country. Luckily, this is quick and simple to do online.

In spite of the controversy and criticism surrounding the decision to hold the tournament in Qatar, the event is going ahead as planned.

The Group Stage will begin on Sunday, November 20. Qatar, as the host country, has qualified automatically and will play in the opening match against Ecuador.

The COVID-19 Situation in Qatar

COVID-19 regulations for Qatar were previously very strict as the country tried to contain the spread of the several variants of the virus.

Now, the country is focusing on loosening restrictions to help economic recovery. The FIFA World Cup represents a huge opportunity to boost Qatar’s economy, with many fans traveling to the Middle-Eastern nation over November and December.

Since the start of the pandemic, Qatar has seen around 472,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 700 fatalities, according to statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

New cases are still being reported daily. However, the rate of new infections is much lower than in previous waves of the pandemic. This seems to indicate that the country is relatively safe in terms of COVID-19 ahead of the World Cup.

From November 1, 2022, the following changes were made to Qatar’s COVID-19 travel rules:

  • COVID rapid antigen test or PCR test within 24 hours of entry in Qatar no longer required
  • Negative rapid antigen test or PCR test result obtained before traveling to Qatar no longer required
  • All persons must show their health status on the Ehteraz application when entering healthcare facilities in Qatar

The Qatari Ministry of Health has stated that everyone must continue to comply with the standard precautionary measures while staying in the country to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.

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