Qatar abandons COVID test requirement for World Cup fans

As of March 30, Qatar, which has a population of nearly 3 million, has experienced more than 440,000 cases of COVID-19 and 692 deaths, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

Qatar’s health ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the World Cup host country had eliminated a requirement for visitors to get a negative COVID-19 test before travelling there.

Previously, the authorities announced that fans were required to present a negative COVID-19 test result regardless of whether or not they had been vaccinated, in order to travel either by air or at the border crossing.

The tournament, which runs Nov. 20-Dec. 18, is expected to draw 1.2 million visitors to Qatar for the first time.

Qatar residents must wait 24 hours after returning home before taking the COVID-19 test.

The health ministry eliminated the requirement that adults show their COVID-19 status on a government-run contact tracing smartphone application called Ehteraz before entering stadiums or other places like shops and restaurants.

Applications must still be shown to visitors and residents before they enter a healthcare facility, the statement said.

The statement said Qatar is easing restrictions because “the number of COVID-19 cases (is) continuing to decline around the world and in Qatar, and Qatar’s National COVID-19 Vaccination Program is ongoing.”

People visiting healthcare facilities must still wear masks, but last week Qatar eased its mask rules, requiring them only for people visiting healthcare facilities.

Qatar, home to almost 3 million people, has reported over 440,000 cases of COVID-19 and 692 fatalities from the disease, according to the Ministry of Public Health.