(Reuters) – 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 Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament.
Qatar residents are no longer to take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of returning to the country from abroad.
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.
(Reporting and writing by Andrew Mills; Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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