Qatar drops coronavirus restrictions just before World Cup qualifier
The Qatar 2022 government said on Monday that it had decided to withdraw its health and other related measures because of “a critical public health emergency.” The suspension of curbs on public life came just hours before FIFA’s World Cup qualifying match with Qatar, which is scheduled for Wednesday.
The move came after the Qatari government ordered a nationwide quarantine and suspension of mass gatherings until March 31.
The suspension, which will last for 18 days, will affect all public health agencies and government departments, the Doha 2022 Sports Authority said in a statement on its Instagram account.
“We appreciate the confidence shown by the Qatari Government in our capacity to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of the people of Qatar,” the statement said. “We are suspending all public health measures and operations with immediate effect which will include suspension of curbs on public life, movement and travel.”
The suspension is effective immediately, and will last for the next 18 days. It will be reviewed daily.
Qatar 2022 said it has been working “closely” with authorities to secure its stadiums and comply with the requirements of the World Cup bidding process.
“We are implementing the recommendations and directives from the WHO, who believe that we have addressed the threats presented by the novel coronavirus while preserving the health and well-being of all Qatari people,” Doha 2022 president Hassan Khalfan Al Thani said.
Qatar 2022 chief says ‘all our efforts are dedicated to ensuring health security’
Qatar 2022 said its decision to suspend curbs on its public life — such as traffic and mass gatherings — was taken after consultation with “all relevant authorities in Qatar.” It said it was working closely with the WHO, health authorities and the United Nations “to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all Qatari citizens.”
“We are implementing the recommendations and directives from the WHO, who believe that we have addressed the threats presented by the novel coronavirus while preserving the health and well-being of all Qatari people,” the statement quoted al Thani as saying.
The World Health Organisation has declared coronavirus a global health emergency.
“The government of Qatar is acting in the best interest of public health and is following WHO guidance and recommendations,” WHO regional director for the Middle East and North Africa MOH Amar Jawad Ali said on Twitter.