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Qatar deploys tough measures to tackle Coronavirus

The Qatari authorities have announced the suspension of all flights coming into the country, for 14 days (renewable) from Wednesday, 18th March, 2020 as part of precautionary measures taken to combat the spread of CoronaVirus otherwise known as COVID-19.

This was contained in a release issued after the country’s Supreme Committee for Crisis Management, chaired by His Highness, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha, the country’s capital. 

During the meeting, His Highness directed the initiation of a package of decisions and procedures which include among others:

First, “stopping all incoming flights to Doha, the country’s capital starting from Wednesday evening, corresponding to March 18, for a period of 14 days renewable, with the exception of air cargo and transit flights, in addition to receiving any of the Qatari citizens coming from any destination in the world without specifying that with a period of time provided that quarantine is applied to them for 14 days.

“With regard to Qatari students located outside the country, we advise them to adhere to the policies in place in the study country with the readiness of the country’s embassies to provide any of the necessary services, including facilitating the procedures for return to the State of Qatar if the need arises, and “we also call upon citizens and residents in the State of Qatar to avoid travel during the coming period”.

Second, “stop all public transportation, including metro and Karwa buses, from tonight at 10 pm”, the release said.

It also added the third as, “allow the following groups to work remotely: employees over the age of 55, pregnant women, and people suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart and kidney disease, and stress.

Fourth, “all students in public schools will begin distance learning from Sunday March 22nd, 2020 and students from grades one to eleven will be subject to the continuous evaluation system. As for the twelfth grade students, they will undergo high school exams on time and at the exams headquarters, which will be announced later. As for students in private schools and universities, they start studying remotely according to the academic calendar and the evaluation systems approved for them.

Fifth, “a package of decisions related to the economic and financial sector, as follows:

First Decision – Directing His Highness to support and provide financial and economic incentives amounting to 75 billion Qatari riyals to the private sector.

The second decision – for the Central Bank to put in place, the appropriate mechanism to encourage banks to postpone loan instalments and obligations of the private sector with a grace period of six months.

Third decision – directing Qatar Development Bank to postpone the instalments of all borrowers for a period of six months.

Fourth Resolution – Directing government funds to increase their investments in the stock exchange by 10 billion riyals.

Fifth Decision – The Central Bank to provide additional liquidity to banks operating in the country

Sixth Resolution: Exempting food and medical goods from customs duties for a period of six months, provided that this is reflected in the selling price to the consumer.

Resolution Seven – Exempting the following sectors from electricity and water fees for a period of six months:

Hospitality and Tourism sector, Retail sector, Small and Medium Industries sector, Commercial complexes in exchange for providing services and exemptions to tenants, Logistics areas.

Eighth Resolution – Exemption from rents for the logistical areas and small and medium industries for a period of six months, thus ending the package of decisions that were directed today.”

According to the directives of “His Highness the Amir, may God protect him, the committee began its meetings continuously and without interruption since the first day of the crisis, headed by His Excellency the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior and the membership of His Excellencies the Ministers and officials from all relevant sectors.

“In this regard, it has taken a number of measures in various fields, foremost of which is the health sector, which day and night operators work to protect society members from the consequences of this virus.

“Studies were also suspended in all its stages with the activation of distance education, not to mention the cancellation of gatherings, both in social, sports and public events, and the entry support from air and sea ports was intensified, including preventing the entry of all wooden and tourist ships from various seaports.

“We reiterate our calls to all sectors and institutions in the state, citizens and residents to cooperate and abide by all procedures and take all necessary precautions to overcome this stage, and we call for everyone with a full time health and wellness”.

SOURCE: Agency