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Fifa World Cup: Qatar to drop pre-arrival Covid test before the tournament

Visitors entering the Gulf country will no longer be required to present a negative PCR test or RAT result

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.

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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.

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