Saturday, October 16, 2021

Qatar Coronavirus Updates – Getting Back to Normal, Awaiting Vaccines for Children

 In Qatar things continue to improve and restrictions continue to be lifted.  Now the country is at roughly 40 community cases a day and almost everyone who can be vaccinated has been (83% of the total population has received the vaccine).  Unfortunately there’s still about 40 people in hospitals, and 10 in ICU. A person in their 80s passed away yesterday from it.

Travel restrictions have changed in that most countries are now on the “green list”.  One twist though is that you no longer need a PCR test to fly into Qatar – but you do have to get one within 36 hours of arrival. I think Qatar is tired of people getting fake or questionable PCR tests in other countries, now you must have a test done here.

From a peak of about 40,000 doses of vaccine given out every day we’re now at 3-5 thousand doses, and I think that includes people now getting booster doses.  Almost everyone who is eligible has the vaccine now, so everyone is waiting for the announcement regarding kids aged 5-11.  There are rumors of course, we could see something in the next couple of weeks, but once it is approved either in the U.S. are the EU it’ll be rolled out in Qatar for sure. I don’t think the uptake for children will be as high as it has been for adults, my guess is some vaccinated parents will still be a little bit leery of giving it to small children, but even with moderate take up the percentage of the population vaccinated should reach 90%. Between that and boosters there’s not much more that can be done.

While restrictions on wearing masks outdoors have largely been lifted almost everyone continues to wear them, which is fine with me. I still get a bit anxious about COVID at times, especially when there are situations that I consider higher risk.  Recently someone I know just got back from visiting Russia, a country that is in the midst of a huge COVID wave and has real issues with vaccination rates. My friend is vaccinated but even so for the next while I’ll try to stay away from him and his friend group just to make sure they aren’t a “breakthrough” case, which increases the risk that they could be giving it to other people. Getting a PCR test within 36 hours of landing isn’t really a guarantee, I think if you are exposed to COVID it could take a few days for you to build up enough virus to show up on a PCR test.

While the pandemic continues to rage in other parts of the world, here in Qatar it might be nearing an end. We’ll see once vaccinations are rolled out to children. I remain hopeful.

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