The emergence of omicron, a new virus variant lead to the updated travel and return policies for Qatar. These updated polices took effect on December 1, 2021 at 6 PM.
Qatar, through the Ministry of Public Health, has adopted a stricter protocol due to the outbreak. Citizens and residents are enjoined to abide by these updated policies.
Updated Policy Enacted
The recent discovery of a new COVID-19 virus variant, omicron, caused several countries to review their policies of accepting arrivals from other countries, especially those with reported cases. Qatar updated the travel and return policies, to prevent the virus from infecting more people. Here are the updated policies, according to the Ministry of Public Health:
- Qatar classified countries into green and red lists. There is another list called Exceptional Red Countries, wherein the local and international health risk indicators of the country are studied.
- Citizens and residents of Qatar can take international travels anytime, but they must adhere to the prevailing travel and return policy when they return.
- Those traveling from Qatar to other countries should follow the health protocols of the country where they plan to travel.
- Travelers going to Qatar should research the prevailing travel and return policies before planning their trips.
- Upon arrival in Qatar, travelers must adhere to the current travel protocols to avoid the further spread of the virus.
- Non-residents of Qatar who are entering the county should pre-register with www.ehteraz.gov.qa. There is a system for registering on the website where the non-resident will present documents and vaccine certificates, which must be submitted three days before arriving in Qatar. Even residents and residents of Qatar are also encouraged to pre-register with the website before arrival to ensure a smooth travel experience. In addition, there is no need to give the PCR test result during pre-registration. Instead, the original copy of the PCR test will be presented at the airport (or port) to be allowed to board. The Ministry of Public Health has the right to conduct random inspections on travelers upon arrival in the country.
- Travelers should download the Ehteraz application on their cellphones. They can use their local or international SIM to download the app.
- Passengers should sign an undertaking and acknowledgment form before arrival in Qatar. The form is available on the website of the Ministry of Public Health, or www.ehteraz.gov.qa, or the airline booking form. Meanwhile, if the passenger is from a green list country and has been vaccinated in Qatar, there is no need to fill out the undertaking and acknowledgment form.
- The PCR test result should be taken from an accredited medical center of the country of origin. The test result should be negative and should be taken 72 hours before arriving in Qatar.
- Travelers should know the quarantine procedure based on their country of origin.
- For passengers opting to undergo home quarantine, the housing condition should be appropriate for quarantine. If note, the passenger should book an accredited quarantine facility. For reference, visit Discover Qatar to see the accredited facilities.
- Should the passenger exhibit virus symptoms, they should get tested at an accredited clinic of their port of entry. They should also follow isolation measures.
- The current travel and return policies apply to all ports of entry in Qatar.
Twitter Post From the Ministry of Public Health Qatar
Supplementary information for Travelers
The health ministry gives further information to help passengers have a hassle-free entry into the country. Here are more details:
- Approved Vaccines
The approved vaccines are Pfizer/BioNTech (two doses administered), Moderna (two doses administered), AstraZeneca (two doses administered), and Jansen/Johnson & Johnson (one dose administered). Meanwhile, the Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Sputnik V vaccines fall under the conditionally approved vaccines.
Those who received conditionally approved vaccines will need to present a serology antibody test with a positive result. The test should be taken 14 days after the second dose to be considered immune.
In case the traveler received Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster shot, they will be considered immune 14 days after.
Travelers who have completed the vaccination using the approved vaccine will need to present the original vaccine certificate either in Arabic or English language. The vaccine certificate should contain the name of the traveler (and is also similar to what was written in their passport), dose dates according to vaccine type, type or name of the vaccine, and the serial number of the vaccine administered.
The health ministry says that passengers will need to present a serology antibody test if they received a conditionally approved vaccine. Passengers will undergo quarantine upon arrival in Qatar if they were not able to take the antibody test or had a negative result.
Also, a vaccinated passenger will undergo a PCR test in one of the test centers in their port of entry. Meanwhile, unvaccinated travelers receive a yellow status in their Ehteraz app when they arrive in Qatar. They will undergo quarantine.
All travelers will not report for work or mingle with other people if they have not received their PCR test results.
- Passengers Who Recovered from the Virus
If the passenger is a resident or citizen of Qatar, or from any GCC country, they should have at least one dose of an approved vaccine to get the same treatment as those who are fully vaccinated. The time frame will be on the 14th day after recovery or the 14th day after receiving the vaccine.
If the passenger is from a GCC country and has recovered from the virus, they need to present an official certificate indicating the virus infection and vaccination status.
- Policies for Passengers According to their Country of Origin
As mentioned earlier, Qatar grouped some countries as green, red, or exceptional red countries. There are several policies for passengers coming from these countries.
The Philippines is currently classified in the Exceptional Red List Country. The other countries in this list are: Bangladesh, Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, India, Indonesia, Lesotho, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.
There are two groups for passengers coming from the exceptional red list country. The first is Group A, with subgroup A for Qatar citizens, and subgroup B for Qatar residents and GCC citizens.
Under subgroup A, travelers that are fully vaccinated will undergo a 2-day home quarantine. But they will get a PCR test at least 72 hours before their flight. All age groups will get this test. And when they arrive in Qatar, they will undergo another test within 36 hours.
If the traveler under subgroup A is unvaccinated, they will undergo home quarantine for 7 days upon arrival in Qatar. They will present a negative PCR test result taken at least 72 days before their flight. They will undergo another PCR test on the sixth day of their quarantine. If they get a negative result, they can end their quarantine on the 7th day.
Travelers under this subgroup can take the PCR test in health centers or accredited private healthcare.
Under subgroup B, travelers that are fully vaccinated will undergo hotel quarantine for 2 days when they arrive in Qatar. All age groups will take a PCR test 72 days before their flight. The test should yield a negative result. While on the first day of the quarantine, they will undergo another PCR test.
If the travelers in subgroup B are unvaccinated, they will undergo a one-week hotel quarantine when they arrive in Qatar. They will also show a negative PCR test result taken before their flight, regardless of the age group. They will undergo another PCR test result on the sixth day of the quarantine. If they received a negative result, the quarantine period ends on the seventh day. Testing will be conducted in the hotel.
The other group is Group B, composed of Qatar visitors with pre-approved and on-arrival visas. Fully vaccinated travelers under this category will undergo a 2-day hotel quarantine when they arrive. But before their flight, they should have negative PCR test results. All age groups will take this test. An on the first day of their hotel quarantine, they will get another PCR test.
If the travelers are unvaccinated, they are not allowed to enter the country.
At present, Qatar remains free of the omicron variant.
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