Saturday, November 28, 2020

Qatar Coronavirus Updates -- Vaccine Hope

Cases are still steady at 150-180 community cases each day, with 40-60 additional cases a day from travelers in quarantine. I wish the cases would lower but they stubbornly stay at the same levels. There have been 1-3 deaths a week but at least the second wave appears to be over in neighbouring Bahrain. Cases loads in other GCC countries are still fairly high.  I don't think it'll really start to go down until a vaccine is circulated.

Which of course is the big news, trials of three different vaccines have completed with great results and now all of the talk is when countries will receive them, how many doses they will get, and how they will be distributed. Talk in Qatar is the country could receive a vaccine in late-December, and a well-connected Qatari that I spoke to says the Government has already drafted up its priority list for who will receive the vaccine. Some people have wondered about whether enough people will take it or not, what if people refuse, etc. but they are thinking like Westerners. If the Qatar Government demands a expat take the vaccine your choices are: do it, have a medical exemption, or leave the country. This place isn't going to play around and cater to anti-vaxxer nonsense. So things could be back to normal soon. I expect February or March but a friend of mine in the medical field figures it'll take longer to get enough of the vaccine to create herd immunity, likely by June or July 2021. So there is still a ways to go.

Meanwhile some people are planning trips to the Maldives thanks to a travel bubble that was set up at two resorts. The resorts are separate islands and will only have guests from Qatar and the staff have already quarantined for two weeks. So you fly from Qatar to the Maldives on Qatar Airways (you have to book the resorts from Qatar Airways), go straight to the resort and stay there, full board. When you fly back to Qatar you don't need to quarantine because you were only at the resort. It's a neat idea and a number of people here are planning trips. Not me though, the minimum stay is five days and I'm not the kind of person who can just sit on a beach for five days. 

No trips for me, I'm staying put. Just need to be careful for a few more months.

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