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Qatar scraps pre-arrival Covid test before World Cup

World Cup host Qatar has scrapped a requirement for visitors to obtain a negative COVID-19 test before departing for the Gulf Arab state, its health ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Previously, Qatar had told fans attending the World Cup they must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test regardless of their vaccination status, before departing by air or at the border crossing.

Qatar is expecting an unprecedented 1.2 million visitors during the November 20 to December 18 tournament.

Qatar residents are no longer to take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of returning to the country from abroad.

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

Visitors and residents must still show the application before entering a healthcare facility, the statement said.

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

Last week, Qatar eased its mask rules and now only requires masks for people visiting healthcare facilities.

Qatar, which has a population of nearly 3 million, has recorded more than 440,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 692 deaths from the virus, according to data from the Ministry of Public Health. – Reuters

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