Qatar scraps COVID entry test requirement for World Cup fans

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.

 General view as people pose for a picture ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. (photo credit: REUTERS/HAMAD I MOHAMMED)
General view as people pose for a picture ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.
(photo credit: REUTERS/HAMAD I MOHAMMED)

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 November 20-December 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.

 Fifa World Cup 2022 branding is seen at Hamad International Airport. (credit: REUTERS/HAMAD I MOHAMMED) Fifa World Cup 2022 branding is seen at Hamad International Airport. (credit: REUTERS/HAMAD I MOHAMMED)

Visitors and residents must still show the application before entering a healthcare facility, the statement said.

Why does Qatar drop restrictions?

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.