Wow, it's been 15 years now. I landed in Qatar in May 2006 to start a new job, expecting to be here maybe 3 or 4 years and here we are 15 years later.
And to celebrate I stayed home. No restaurants, no malls. I don't have a liquor license anymore so no celebratory drinks either. 2021 is still not a time for celebrations and socializing.
Covid-wise things are still not great in Qatar. Community cases are at around 300-500 a day and 7-10 people die each day. It is sad looking at the news and knowing that people in their 40s and 50s are passing away from it every day, something that was uncommon last year. COVID is no longer an illness that puts people at 65+ at risk, now it's 40+, maybe even 35+. Scary. The UK variant and South African variant are here and I'm sure it's only a matter of time for the Indian one gets hold. The Qatar Government has placed a mandatory hotel quarantine for anyone arriving from South Asia, even if they are vaccinated, I assume in a bid to stop the Indian variant circulating in the community. If vaccination can stop the variants then Qatar just needs to get through the next month or so but it goes to show how contagious the new variants are that there are so many cases here despite the vaccination rollout.
Qatar has stepped up vaccination though, from around 25 thousand doses a day to 30 thousand. That means up to 100,000 people will have received their second dose each week, pretty good for a country of 2.6 million. I believe over 500,000 people have been fully vaccinated already. I have an appointment in two weeks for my first dose. It will be either Pfizer or Moderna as those are the only two given in Qatar. That means by mid-June I will receive my second dose and can relax a little. A recent article in the Guardian shows that the number of doses given out so far in Europe is around 33 per 100 people, though in the UK it is a fantastic 73.4 doses per 100 people, which is why case rates and deaths in the UK are now quite low (yesterday they had only one COVID death). The US is also at 70+. Canada is at 36-37. In Qatar it is at 61 doses per 100 people, well ahead of the EU average.
Celebrations will maybe be in June. For now I am trying to stay safe.