COVID: Qatar tightens restrictions as cases continue to rise | News on the coronavirus pandemic

New rules will take effect from Friday after the country again reports more than 900 positive cases.

Qatar has announced a tighter COVID-19-related restriction amid a growing number of reported cases in the country in recent weeks.

The measures, announced in a cabinet statement on Wednesday, will come into effect on Friday as the country battles an upsurge in new COVID-19 infections.

The country reported 940 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of positive cases to more than 186,000 since the start of the pandemic.

The circulation of the British and South African variant of the virus has contributed to the spread of COVID-19, according to Abdullatif al-Khal, the deputy chief medical officer of Hamad Medical Corporation.

In addition to keeping gyms, swimming pools, water parks and spas closed, the new guidelines have now ordered museums, cinemas, libraries and nurseries to be closed.

Cafes and restaurants will no longer be allowed to serve food indoors or in outdoor spaces.

Public gatherings in parks and beaches will be banned. Individual sports activities such as running and cycling will be permitted.

Social gatherings will not be allowed in homes or other enclosed spaces. Up to five vaccinated people will be allowed to assemble in open spaces.

According to the new guidelines, private and public workspaces will not operate at more than 50% of their capacity. The rest of the staff should work from home.

Mosques will remain open for daily and Friday prayers, while prayers celebrated during the holy month of Ramadan should only be performed at home.

Second wave

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, al-Khal said Qatar was in the middle of a second wave. He added that the country has witnessed an increase in the number of daily infections and acute cases requiring hospitalization and intensive care hospitalization in the past two weeks.

Decision to tighten restrictions comes after Qatari health official called last month for a full nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Qatar continued to report an increasing number of infections daily despite reimpose a series of coronavirus-related restrictions on education, recreation and business activities, including closing gyms and restricting restaurant capacity.

In February, authorities announced a 32 point plan to stem the surge in cases that have raised fears of a new wave of infections.

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