Qatar labels the Philippines with ‘special risk’ on its COVID-19 travel list

August 30, 2021 - 10:01 PM
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Qatar airport
Passengers wearing protective face masks amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak sit at the food court area as they wait for their flight, at the Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar, August 10, 2021. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Qatar‘s health ministry marked the Philippines as being a “special risk” zone in its classification of countries during the pandemic.

The state of Qatar released an update list on August 27. It has since circulated on Facebook after some Filipinos noticed the country’s placement on it.

The list titled “Classification of countries based on the level of risk of COVID-19” which was updated last August 23 was posted on two official pages—at the Ministry of Public Health of Qatar (MOPH) and at the Hamad Medical Corporation, which is the Arab country’s premiere health care provider.

“The Ministry of Public Health would like to remind everyone to follow the official website of the Ministry for details of the travel lists of Countries Based on Categorization of COVID-19 Risk,” read the post at MOPH.

Qatar’s classification is of three levels of COVID-19 risks—green, yellow and red.

Including at the red level are six states flagged as “Special Risk Six-Country Zone.” These are:

  1. Bangladesh
  2. India
  3. Nepal
  4. Pakistan
  5. The Philippines
  6. Sri Lanka

Filipino social media users immediately expressed their frustration in the form of puns and sarcasm.

“Red list ka na tapos special red list ka pa. Pilipinas nambah wan!” one user said.

“It’s more fun in the Philippines! Go for the gold! Top 1!” another user wrote.

Others cited different measures the national government has implemented such as face shields and confusing quarantine acronyms and rules.

“Tibay ng Pinas. Mahaba at marami ng lockdown at quarantine pati na checkpoint pero red list special risk zone pa rin,” one user said.

“May face shield na nga nasa special risk pa (face palm emoji),” another user wrote.

“Kung ano-ano na ipinangalan sa quarantine natin.. Meron na tayo tiny bubbles.. Tapos ganyan pa rin,” another user commented.

Qatar’s travel policies

According to Qatar’s travel and return policy, people coming from the “special risk” zone will have to comply with additional rules.

These are:

  • ​​Those vaccinated/recovering from COVID-19 in the State of Qatar are subject to a two-day hotel quarantine and are allowed to leave the hotel on the second day if the result of the PCR test is negative.
  • The rest of the people are subject to a hotel quarantine for a period of 10 days

Those coming from countries in other categories will have to complete an online pre-registration first through Qatar’s platform called Ehteraz website (www.ehteraz.gov.qa).

Visitors are mandated to pre-register 12 hours before their travel to the Arab state to secure a travel permit.

According to their COVID-19 tracker, Qatar has had a total of 232,366 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic.

Of these, there are 2,718 active cases, 229,046 recovered and 602 deaths.