On Saturday it was announced that Qatar Airways are the first airline to trial COVID-19 vaccine authentication through the IATA travel pass. The trial will be rolled out in phases from this month, beginning initially with cabin crew returning to Doha travelling from Kuwait, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Sydney. And it was announced that vaccinated individuals in Qatar can now visit Germany without quarantine. Glückliche Tage.

On Sunday it was announced that Doha Metro are to suspend services temporarily on Fridays starting from today, as well as during the coming Eid holidays for essential systems upgrade work. And 232 worksites were shut in June for violating the summer work rule. Workers are not allowed to work outside between 10am in the morning and 3:30 in the afternoon, from June the 1st until September the 15th. And the Peninsula reported that over 80 farms are lining up for the Fresh Local Dates Festival. Which is due to start next week, and last for two weeks in Souq Waqif.

The Qatar Tribune ran a story on Monday, stating that the population of Qatar has dropped by 180,000 in the last year. The population has shrunk from 2.81 million in May 2020 to 2.63 million at the end of May 2021. According to the latest statistics released by the Planning and Statistics Authority. And the Tribune also ran a story that 64.2% of the eligible population are now fully vaccinated according to the Ministry of Public Health. The Gulf Times went for the story that 75% of those over the age of 16 have had at least one COVID shot, that’s three out of every four people.

Tuesday and the Peninsula said that the customs department had foiled a bid to smuggle crystal meth into the country. The substance which weighed over 1 kilogramme was secretly hidden inside a bread toaster. And the Gulf Times said there’s been a threefold rise in Qatar tourists visiting Georgia. I quite fancy going there myself actually, especially as Qatar citizens and residents can enter Georgia without any additional quarantine requirements, even if they have not been vaccinated yet, although I have.

Sticking with the Gulf Times and on Wednesday they said that the Prime Minister had inaugurated the Umm Al Houl expansion project. The expansion adds 61.4 million gallons of desalinated water per day, to Qatar’s production capacity. And on the bottom of the front page was that Malabar Gold’s new facility in Qatar is to make 5,000 kilogrammes of gold jewellery per year.

On to yesterday when the cabinet announced phase three of the lifting of COVID restrictions, which come into effect from today. Workplaces are to operate at 80% capacity excluding the military, security, and health sectors. Mandatory weekly rapid antigen testing for employees who have not received vaccine doses. Museums and public libraries to operate at 75% capacity. Metro and public transport services to operate at 50% capacity. Bus services also to operate at half their capacity. Weddings will be permitted at hotels and venues for up to 80 people. Private healthcare facilities to operate at full capacity. Fans are to be allowed outdoors at 50% capacity. Driving schools to run at 50% capacity. Theatres and cinemas to operate at 30% capacity and children are now allowed.

Now on to today and the news that fully vaccinated people will be exempt from quarantine starting from July the 12th which is this coming Monday. And people who have been vaccinated with a Qatar approved vaccine will be granted exemption from quarantine for 12 months starting 14 days after the required number of doses has been administered.

And some eagerly awaited news by many people, Qatar is to resume issuing tourist and family entry visas from Monday.

Now for this weeks COVID update. There were a total of 814 new cases reported in the last seven days, and 919 recoveries. Unfortunately, there were also 7 COVID related deaths, which is 3 more than the previous weeks 4 COVID related deaths. This means that there are currently 1,529 active cases, 112 less than the previous week even though 361 of the 814 new cases were arrivals entering the country. In fact, arrivals accounted for 44% of Qatar’s new cases this week and on two occasions in the last seven days there were more cases arriving than being reported within the country. 131,670 tests were performed and just 0.62% of those tested positive.

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By mike