After flattening the curve in the first wave of COVID-19, new cases, hospital admissions, and intensive care cases have been steadily rising this year. With new variants of the virus being reported in other countries and neighboring countries announcing lockdowns, many people on social media are asking, “Is Qatar headed to another “lockdown”?
Technically, Qatar didn’t implement a full lockdown last year but rather a series of restrictions that helped prevent the spread of the pandemic.
The government has laid out the four-tier plan to re-impose COVID-19 restrictions and reiterated the necessary precautionary measures in a press conference held on 3 February 2021. But many individuals and businesses are still found to be not following the guidelines set by the government.
The Ministry of Interior has intensified patrols and checkpoints in roads and neighborhoods, checking if the people are wearing a mask in mandatory places, installing the Ehteraz app, maximum limit of people allowed in a vehicle, not maintaining a safe distance, and violating home quarantine requirements. To date, there are more than 14,000 individuals referred to the Public Prosecution for violating these precautionary measures.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has also ramped up their inspection resulting in the temporary closure of establishments due to non-compliance. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education has also recently said that they intensified surprise inspection campaigns in public and private schools with the Ministry of Public Health. While most schools adhere to the guidelines, a number of schools were closed for a temporary period and online learning was implemented after cases of COVID-19 were discovered among some students and teaching staff.
Social media is also abuzz with people talking about places where they have seen crowds of people not following the safety measures
In terms of the vaccine, we’re still in the first phase (out of four) of the COVID-19 vaccine with Qatar soon to receive the shipment of vaccine from the second supplier, Moderna.
According to Dr. Al Khal in the last press conference, we’re currently at the second level of the four-tier plan, with the fourth level indicating a complete closure. But should Qatar just head straight to the fourth level to immediately nip the bud of the second wave? Or can the citizens and residents take responsibility and strictly adhere to the precautionary measures while enjoying a bit of freedom? A complete closure, which some countries have resorted to, will have consequences not just on the people but also with businesses.
What are your thoughts?
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