Qatar mandates all non-resident travellers to register online at least 3 days before arrival

Ahram Online , Tuesday 30 Nov 2021

Qatar's Ministry of Health mandated that all Incoming travellers that are non-residents of Qatar must register via a pre-registration website and upload all required documents at least three days before arrival, the Qatari Ministry of Public Health said on Monday.

Hamad International Airport
File Photo: Travellers, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, walk past the Qatar Airways check-in desk ahead of a flight at Hamad International Airport near the Qatari capital Doha. AFP

The Qatari ministry, however, said that the pre-registration measure is optional for citizens and residents of Qatar. It also excluded diplomats, administrative card holders, and VIP visitors arriving on official state visits from this measure.

Moreover, the ministry stated that a PCR test result is no longer required during the electronic pre-registration process, as travellers must present an original copy of a PCR test result to the airlines in order to be allowed to board their flight, or at the country’s ports upon arrival by ship.

This came within a list of new measures announced by Qatar for its travel and arrival policy that will come into force on 1 December.

The new measures of the Qatari policy were announced a few days after updating its ‘Exceptional Red List Countries’, in which Egypt was included along with six other African countries.

Qatar has been imposing a seven-day hotel quarantine period on fully vaccinated travellers with pre-approved and on-arrival visas arriving from Egypt since 26 November over concerns of the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Africa.

The update of the exceptional list — which now has 16 countries — includes Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, along with Egypt, according to the Qatari Ministry of Public Health.

Visitors of all age groups will undergo A PCR upon arrival at the quarantine hotel and then another test on the sixth day; if the second test result is negative, the person will be released from quarantine on the seventh day.

Unvaccinated visitors from these countries travelling to Qatar with pre-approved and on-arrival visas will not be allowed to enter the country, the Qatari ministry said.

As for the fully vaccinated residents of Qatar who are travelling from one of these countries, they will be obligated to quarantine in their homes for five days after concluding a two-day hotel quarantine after arrival. Unvaccinated Qatari residents, however, will be granted entrance but will be obliged to quarantine at the hotel for seven days.

Fully vaccinated and unvaccinated Qatari citizens coming from one of the countries on the list will be obligated to quarantine in their homes for seven days upon arrival in the country with the option to quarantine in a hotel if they so choose.

Furthermore, fully vaccinated and unvaccinated Gulf Cooperation Council citizens travelling from countries on the list will be subjected to a hotel quarantine for seven days upon arriving in Qatar.

The unofficial estimate of the number of Egyptians in Qatar is about 350,000, making them one of the largest foreign communities in the Gulf country. The latest official number, however, that was released in 2017 by Egypt’s Minister of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram was around 70,000.

Egypt and Qatar resumed direct flights between their capitals in January 2021 after Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain signed the Al-Ula Declaration with Qatar, ending a three-and-half year boycott of Doha.

Qatar is the second country following Switzerland to impose a quarantine on travellers from Egypt this week.

On Saturday, the Swiss Ministry of Health announced that passengers flying to Switzerland from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Egypt, and Malawi must present a negative COVID-19 test and undergo a 10-day quarantine.

Europe’s first case of the Omicron variant was discovered in Belgium on Friday, with Belgian virologist Mark Van Ranst announcing in a tweet that the variant was detected in “a returning traveller from Egypt.”

Egypt, however, stressed that the circulated tweet is unconfirmed and lacks documentation, with health officials confirming that no cases of the new variant have been detected in the country so far.

Hossam Abdel-Gaffar, the spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Health, said in a televised statement on Saturday that no official statement was released from the Belgian government or the World Health Organisation confirming Egypt’s relation to the detected case.

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