Phase two of the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions kicked off this Friday as cases continue to decrease in the country.
Non-vaccinated citizens and residents, in addition to those who have yet to complete both doses of the vaccine, can now get the mandatory rapid Covid-19 test at private healthcare facilities, the health ministry has announced.
“Anyone needing a Rapid Antigen Test to detect COVID-19 virus antigens is reminded that these are delivered through private healthcare facilities,” the Ministry of Public Health said.
The newly approved test only requires a simple nasal swab and the results come out within 15 minutes.
Last week, Qatar’s cabinet issued a list of all the conditions and directives for Phase 2 of the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
Among them was a mandatory weekly rapid antigen test for non-vaccinated employees in the private and governmental sectors or those who have yet to complete both doses of the vaccine.
The regulation was put in place to ensure those who are fully immune to Covid-19 are free from the virus. The ministry urged those who require the test to call their local private healthcare provider to make an appointment beforehand.
Phase 2 of the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions kicked off in Qatar on Friday following a significant dip in daily and active cases in the last month.
The new eased regulations are part of a four-phase plan introduced by the ministry of health and the ministry of commerce in early May to slowly return to normality.
The regulations include increasing workforce capacity to 80%, allowing kids in malls and souqs again, allowing in-door and out-door weddings with a certain capacity, and allowing vaccinated fans to attend matches and tournaments in the country.
Amusement parks and all entertainment centres are also now open at a capacity not exceeding 30% in open spaces and 20% in closed spaces, provided that 75% of the customers are fully vaccinated.
Half population fully vaccination
Over half of the population— aged 16 and above — have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in Qatar.
Recent statistics from the ministry show that over 1,259,610 people have been fully vaccinated in the country.
According to the figures, 55.7% of those 16 and over have received two doses while 69.6% have received one.
The percentage of people over 40 years of age to receive one dose stands at 88.3% with 77.9% completing the course.
Meanwhile, 95.1% of those aged 60 and above received the first dose with 89.4% of this age group now fully vaccinated.
Since the start of the country’s National Vaccination Campaign, over 2,876,509 vaccine doses have been administered. The country has been expanding its vaccination campaign in recent months to ensure the community’s safety— administrating over 10,000 doses daily.
Second wave coming to an end
Qatar’s daily reported Covid-19 cases have been drastically decreasing in the last month, with health officials assuring that the country is on the verge of ending its second wave.
In early May, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health [MoPH] and Ministry of Commerce & Industry introduced a four-phase plan for the gradual lifting of restrictions following a significant drop in daily Covid-19 infections among the community.
Qatar is also set to be among the first countries to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 in a months time, Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Public Health announced earlier this month.
The health official also revealed that thanks to the country’s rapid vaccination drive and the public’s adherence to precautionary measures, the country is expected to open its doors to tourism “very soon.”
“We will be among the first countries to get the herd immunity in one month from now assuring that we can open in the coming months very soon for tourism. We will prefer vaccinated people in the first stage and then we can evaluate every case. The system is more sustainable for that,” he added.
Meanwhile, non-vaccinated individuals will be able to enjoy the same privileges as those that have received the full dosage of the injection once the country reaches its target, Head of Vaccination at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Dr. Soha Al Bayat said on Qatar TV.
“We do not force anyone to take Covid-19 vaccine and by the time we reach the targeted percentage of vaccinated people, those who are non-vaccinated will enjoy the same privileges of in the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions,” Al Bayat said.
“Non-vaccinated people will be able to avail the privileges later compared to those who are vaccinated. The number of people who are really exempted from taking Covid-19 vaccine are very small. We encourage the remaining people to take the vaccine to enjoy the privileges available at present.”