With the number of Covid-19 cases in Qatar continuing to rise, the government has confirmed that masks will be required in all closed public spaces.
Numbers of Covid-19 cases are expected to rise in the coming weeks, according to Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, Medical Director of the Communicable Disease Center at Hamad Medical Corporation, according to local outlet The Peninsula.
This comes in light of the easing of travel restrictions as well as the risk of returning holidaymakers carrying the virus without exhibiting symptoms, Dr. Al Maslami told Al Rayyan TV in an interview this week.
Dr. Al Maslami also addressed concerns over the recent spike in Covid-19 cases across the country, as per official health ministry figures, urging the public to continue adhering to precautionary measures set by the government.
The comments come as authorities on Wednesday announced a sudden U-turn on mandatory masks, in all closed public spaces.
The decision was made public during a cabinet meeting that was presided over by the prime minister and minister of the interior, Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani, on Wednesday in the Amiri Diwan.
Less than two months after the mask requirement was lifted, the government said that all citizens, residents, and visitors must wear the protective equipment starting on Thursday.
Just months ahead of the biggest sports event in the world, which is expected to draw 1.2 million tourists to Qatar, health authorities are continuing to report a steady rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.
Health authorities revealed that 599 Covid-19 cases in the community, and 63 cases among travellers were documented on average every day between June 27 and July 3.
This brings the total number of active Covid-19 cases in the nation to 5,078 – a stark increase from mid June when the number stood at 3,690.
Additionally, the health ministry reported that there were 75 Covid-19 patients hospitalised, with a daily average of 19 acute hospital admissions during the week.
Similarly, more people are rushing to get tested after exhibiting symptoms, with data indicating 14,480 average daily testing during the past seven days alone.
Since it was discovered for the first time in Qatar, Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 679 people.