Friday, May 13, 2022

Qatar Coronavirus Updates - Cases Increasing

Recently got back from Eid Vacation, I'll post about that later. 

Discouraged to see that cases are rising again in Qatar, I am guessing it's due to those new Omicron variants going around (I think they are called B.A.4 and B.A.5, or maybe it's the one in America, B.A.2.1.2 or something like that). After a brief period of community cases under 100 a day Qatar is now consistently back to around 120-150 cases a day. Hospitalizations are also steady at around 30 with 1-2 people in the ICU. Thankfully no deaths, I think it's been almost two months since someone died from Covid here.

It also means that the restrictions in Qatar are the same as before with little change. It is changing in other countries, such as in the EU, but here you still have to get a rapid test when you return from a trip, and show your tracker app to enter buildings. Mask wearing is also still mandatory indoors and for the most part people have been good about it, not as vigilant as before but pretty good. We'll have to see how this develops over the next few weeks, cases are on the rise in Canada and the US so there's no reason to expect it won't happen here.


Saturday, April 16, 2022

A New Mall - the Vendome

 [Coronavirus cases are hovering around 100 a day, some days less than a 100, others more. Hospitalizations are under 30 and only one person is in the ICU]


So a new mall just had its soft opening yesterday, the new Vendome Mall in Lusail. You can look it up on Google Maps -- it is HUGE.


As it was a soft opening maybe 20-25% of the shops were open but almost all of the areas of the mall were open and tons of people were roaming around to check out the mall. One thing of note is the massive fountain area in the middle of the mall.



And with the mall being three stories in some areas they went with high ceilings and lots of glass.


The supermarket is a Monoprix.


I didn't take pictures of all the other stores because it is a soft opening, and most of the stores that are open are ones you can find in other malls. It will be a while later before the unique shops open. I will note that there were a lot of luxury stores (Jimmy Choo, Dior, Burberry, etc etc,) so there is yet another mall to compete with the luxury shops in other places. Not sure how that will pan out, I suspect some luxury stores in other parts of the city will close up.

While the pictures look nice there was a lack of seating everywhere. Huge wide hallways but no seats. I can only assume that will be coming later because you need to have places for people to sit down. It was weird wandering around and not having anywhere to sit down.



The mall looks beautiful and will be a welcome addition to the new Lusail neighbourhood. Glad it will be finished in time for the World Cup.


Saturday, April 02, 2022

Ramadan Kareem!

It's Ramadan, the announcement was made last night.  Time for a month of fasting from first light (~4am) until sunset at around 6pm. 

Spent the last week decaffinating, slowing weaning myself off of coffee, otherwise I would get a massive headache the first day.  It was also weird putting food and water on my nightstand so that I could eat something quickly at 3:30am before going back to sleep.

It will be nice to enjoy Ramadan festivities again, due to Covid I was home for the last two Ramadans, either because of lockdown or because I was keeping myself safe by limiting how much I went out. But things have settled down here, cases are around 100-ish a day, and so it'll be nice to get out an enjoy the month. Already planning to stop by a friend's majlis at 9pm, that's when the Ramadan prayers (Tarawih) end and things start happening in the country. From around 9pm until 2am or so everyone is out and about, visiting friends, shopping, doing errands, whatever.

Here's hoping we all have a happy, mellow Ramadan.


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Qatar Coronavirus Updates -- Frustratingly Stable, oh and Canada is in the World Cup

Over the last two weeks I watched, waiting for the numbers to steadily drop below 100, maybe even below 50 cases a day, but it didn't happen. On average there are around 120-150 community cases a day and it has just stayed there. I'm not sure why it has levelled off there. The good news is the hospitalizations are minimal, now there are fewer than 30 people in hospital and only one in the ICU. No one has died of Covid in the last two weeks. 

With that the Government has relaxed most restrictions. Masks should still be worn indoors, and you need to show the Ehteraz tracking app to go into many places, but travelers now need to do a simple rapid test after landing, no need to do a PCR before coming to the country, and overall the country has moved on -- basically considering the pandemic over. Mask wearing is getting more haphazard and people don't take things as seriously anymore. Even in my office building they removed the restrictions on how many people can be in the elevator at once, or in a meeting room. Other countries are doing the same, apparently you don't need to get tested to enter Saudi anymore, and the same with Turkiye (i.e. Turkey, the Turkish Government has recently requested that the English-speaking world stop calling their country Turkey and instead say/spell it like they do, Turkiye).

Now on to great news -- Canada has officially qualified for the 2022 World Cup being held here in Qatar! It is only the second time Canada will play in the World Cup, the last time being in 1986. I hope to see their games. Now I need to try to get tickets...

 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Qatar Coronavirus Updates -- Omicron wave is over

Cases are now back to a level before the Omicron wave, today there were 116 community cases, and it has been under 200 a day for the last week. There is still the odd death, about four this week, but there's now only 26 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU, a far cry from two months ago when people were swarming testing centres and hospitals were filling up.

Qatar has announced further relaxing of restrictions, both for travel and while in the country. Masks are still required indoors, and the Ehteraz tracking app will need to be shown to enter buildings, but otherwise there are few restrictions anymore. Even travel restrictions are easy. Unless you came in from a 'red list' country (and there's only nine on the list) you don't need to do a pre-test to enter Qatar and on arrival do a rapid test within 24 hours. That's it. Well, if you're vaccinated that is, if you're unvaccinated then the process is trickier but you know what -- if you're an adult and don't have a valid medical reason for not being vaccinated then I have no sympathy about how restrictions inconvenience your life. If you have a Reddit account feel free to hang out on r/HermanCainAward to see how not being vaccinated can impact both yours and your family's life.

With no new variants on the horizon we might well be near a point where the pandemic is essentially over, at least for the time being. It'll be nice to travel without worrying too much about Covid. Looking forward to it in fact. I just got back from a trip to Turkey but I was still careful the whole time. 


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Qatar Coronavirus Updates - 300 Cases a Day, Hospitals Back to Normal

Today there were 309 community cases. Hospitalizations are WAY down, and now only 39 people are in hospital, of which 28 are in ICU. At the peak of the Omicron wave over 700 were hospitalized. Looks like the worst of the Omicron wave is now over.

The deaths continue though, sometimes 1 or 2 a day, occasionally none. Given how long people can linger in the ICU with Covid pneumonia it'll be a few weeks yet before most of them leave the ICU.  Sometimes I lurk on a Reddit sub-group called HermanCainAward and see the stories of people hospitalized with Covid. Some of them are in the hospital for months and, if they are unvaccinated, a lot of them eventually die. It's sad to think how many lives would have been saved had they been vaccinated.

In Qatar things are pretty much back to normal (well, Covid normal). Masks are still required indoors, and everyone needs their Ehtheraz tracking app to enter places, but other than that there are not many restrictions. Just waiting to see if the Government loosens travel testing requirements, I'll be travelling next week and would be nice to just do a rapid test instead of a PCR to be able to travel. If Omicron waves are receding everywhere then the Qatar Government might lessen the travel restrictions. Stay tuned.


 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Qatar Coronavirus Updates - Around 500 a Day and More Lessening of Restrictions

Just a quick post. Yesterday there were 532 community cases and only 114 people are currently in hospital. Unfortunately the deaths lag the hospitalizations and most days 1-2 people are dying still. Compare that to the US though, if Qatar was having the same death rate that the US is having right now Qatar would be reporting 25-30 deaths a day. That's never happened, even at the peak of Delta the most number of deaths Qatar reported in a day was 10. In Mississippi, the worst-hit State and with a population similar to Qatar, they are averaging around 40-50 deaths a day at the moment.

With the decrease in cases the Government has removed more restrictions and now you don't have to wear a mask outdoors as long as you're not at a school, marketplace or other crowded area. I expect further measures will be relaxed in the coming weeks if cases keep dropping.