Let's look back together at the top stories of 2020, especially since this year has not been like any other we've experienced. It's been different, but it's almost at an end now and a new year is on the horizon.
To all our ILQ fam, we hope this 2021 brings you continued joy, health, and happiness!
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) called on the public citizens, expatriates and legal persons (according to the National Address Law) to register their national addresses within a period of six months, starting from 27 January 2020 until 26 July 2020.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani accepted the resignation of H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar's Prime Minister, based on the Amiri Order No. (1) for the year 2020. H.E. Sheikh Abdullah served as Qatar's Prime Minister since 2013 and is also the Minister of Interior, a position he will retain.
H.H. The Amir, then, issued an Amiri Decree No. 2 for the year 2020, and appointed H. E. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani as Prime Minister. H.E. Sheikh Khalid was the Chief of the Amiri Diwan since 2014.
Qatar recorded its first confirmed case of coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on 29 February 2020. The MoPH said in a statement that the patient who tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was a 36-year-old Qatari male who returned recently from Iran. He was evacuated out of the country on a government-chartered private plane and landed at a private airport along with other passengers. All the passengers were placed under full quarantine and underwent tests, and this Qatari male who tested positive was, then, admitted to the Communicable Disease Centre and isolated under strict infection control measures. He is in a stable condition.
The Government Communications Office (GCO) announced the decision to suspend public and private schools and universities for all students in Qatar from 10 March 2020 until further notice, as part of the efforts and measures taken by the state to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), for the safety of students
According to H.E. Lolwa Al-Khater, the Official Spokesman of the Supreme Crisis Management Committee, all incoming trips to Doha would be stopped for a period of two weeks as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Transit passengers could still fly via HIA. The restriction started on Wednesday 18 March 2020 and was to last two weeks.
This was with the exception of air cargo and transit flights, in addition to receiving any of the Qatari citizens coming from any destination in the world without specifying that with a period of time, provided that Quarantine was applied to them for 14 days. Citizens and residents were urged to avoid travel during the coming period.
All public transportation in Doha from 10 pm on 15 March 2020 was stopped. This included the Doha Metro and Karwa.
The Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) directed the closure of mosques and the suspension of all congressional prayers including the obligatory five prayers and the Friday prayers, until the condition of safety and tranquillity for the worshippers is met, as part of the precautionary measures taken by Qatar to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)
In a press conference on 9 April 2020, held by H.E. Lolwah Al Khater, the Official Spokesperson of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management, it was announced that a new app called "EHTERAZ", meaning "precaution" would be launched SOON for smartphones. The precautionary application that would help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is a result of the joint efforts of the state's agencies, headed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the MoPH.
The MOI announced that the number of registered persons in the National Address exceeded one million, since the registration opened on 27 January 2020.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) selected Khalifa International Stadium as one of West Asia's finest stadiums. In a report on AFC's website, the Confederation said that Khalifa International Stadium recently became the first arena that will be used for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to be completed after undergoing extensive renovations.
The 40,000-capacity sustainable venue, located within the Doha Sports Complex, boasts a brand new roof that covers all seated areas and a sports museum. One of its key features and a major drive behind Qatar's bid for the competition has been the installation of cooling technology. The pitch-side temperature will thus stay at 26 degrees Celsius, while fans in the stands will also benefit as temperatures will be kept between 24 and 28 degrees.
The UN General Assembly adopted resolution no. 74/275 establishing September 9 as the International Day to Protect Education from Attack. The resolution, called for by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Education Above All and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, and spearheaded by the State of Qatar, aims to garner global advocacy to ensure accountability for the continued, deliberate attacks on education and the prevalent armed violence experienced by children worldwide.
H.H. Sheikh Tamim turned 40. Watch the video to learn about some of the facts about H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and Qatar Foundation have announced that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadium located in Education City has been completed on schedule.
It is the third tournament-ready venue for Qatar 2022 to be completed, following the successful redevelopment of Khalifa International Stadium in 2017 and the inauguration of Al Janoub Stadium in 2019.
To mark the third anniversary of the blockade, Qatar Museums (QM), under the leadership of its Chairperson H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has unveiled a series of public art installations by local and international artists. Chosen on the basis of the annual 6/5 Open Call Initiative, as well as a special open call initiated by Qatar Museums and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), the artworks are intended to inspire hope and commemorate this historic period for the nation.
Qatar obtained, by unanimous vote, the approval of the General Assembly of GS1 by giving the State of Qatar the right to establish a barcode office for Qatari products, after joint efforts and endeavours of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
In a statement, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that Qatar obtained code 630 for locally-made products that can be exported abroad or even traded within the country. The importance of this step comes in finding a special global commercial tracking code for Qatar, which is provided by GS1 with tracking technology for manufactured products inside the State of Qatar starting from manufacturing to the product reaching the consumer inside and outside Qatar. The ministry said that the office will start operating during the last quarter of this year, through direct coordination with the Qatari private sector, which is the cornerstone and target of this office.
H.E. Lolwah bint Rashid bin Mohammed Al Khater, Spokesperson of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management and Dr. Abdullatif Mohamed Al Khal, Chairman of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 held a press conference to provide the latest developments regarding Qatar's efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The press conference highlighted gradually removing the restrictions imposed in Qatar through a four-phase plan as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Based on the available public health data and COVID-19 spread indicators, including passing the peak, flattening the curve, and reducing the virus’ reproduction rate, the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management has decided to launch phase 2 of the gradual reopening plan on July 1st 2020 as initially planned.
The Qatar Football Association (QFA) has officially announced its bid to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup after the Asian Football Confederation closed the bid process for the said event. Qatar is one of the five bids presented to the AFC. The other four Member Associations who have bid to stage Asia's premier football tournament are All India Football Federation, Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and Uzbekistan Football Association.
The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management announced the start of the third phase of the gradual opening from Tuesday 28 July 2020, based on public health indicators in the community, including the continued decrease in the number of active cases recorded daily and the proliferation of the virus.
The Exceptional Entry Permit to Qatar became live on 1 August 2020. The Exceptional Entry Permit is a temporary service provided to the residents of Qatar who are currently stuck abroad due to COVID-19. The employer can apply for entry permits for their employees holding QIDs, so they can return to Qatar. To see the instruction on how to apply, read the guide here: Here's how to apply for "Exceptional Entry Permit" to Qatar
Hamad International Airport announced newly modified procedures for arriving passengers starting 13 August 2020, following the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions across Qatar. The airport has customised its procedures based on the categorisation of arriving passengers, hence ensuring a smooth return to the country.
Based on Qatar’s public health indicators and the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rate in the community, it was decided to split phase four into two phases. The first phase commenced on 1 September 2020, and the situation would be assessed on an ongoing basis, including the re-imposing and/or lifting of some restrictions based on developments mid-September. The second phase commenced at the beginning of the third week of September.
The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation "KAHRAMAA" has entered the Guinness World Records for the "Largest Drinking Water Storage Tank in the World" and achieved a new world record for Qatar with its major strategic water tanks project, according to Lusail News.
The Guinness World Records on its official website and in the approved certificate received by the Foundation indicated that the volume of the largest water tank of its kind in the world constitutes of 436,633.45 cubic meters, which equals to 96,045,931.74 Imperial Gallons and 115,346,354.61 US Gallons. This record reflects the efficiency of Kahramaa's strategy to enhance water security in the country.
The Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ has made a new achievement breaking two Guinness World Records titles for the Longest Continuous Cycle Path and the Longest Piece of Asphalt Concrete Laid Continuously.
Mr. Danny Hickson, the Official Adjudicator at Guinness World Records, announced the measurement of the Longest Piece of Asphalt Concrete Laid Continuously to be 25. 275 km, and also announced the final figure for the Longest Continuous Cycle Path with a length of 32.869 km, setting new world records for Qatar.
Great news for all workers in Qatar! Law No 18 removing the No Objection Certificate requirement to change jobs in Qatar has come in force following its publication in Qatar's Official Gazette.
Expats in Qatar no longer need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their present employer/sponsor when they want to switch jobs (even if their employment contract is still valid) or sponsorship, according to a press release from the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) an the Government Communications Office (GCO).
The new minimum wage law in Qatar has been published in the Official Gazette on 9 September 2020 and will come into effect six months from now in March 2021. In furtherance of Qatar’s efforts to protect the interests of employers and employees alike, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (ADLSA) has today taken a major step forward in its labour reform programme, introducing a non-discriminatory minimum wage and removing the No Objection Certificate requirement to change jobs for employees.
Ashghal today announced the opening of the first 13km phase of the Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor from Umm Lekhba Interchange to Bu Hamour Bridge. The opening was carried at a function, held at Bu Hamour and it marked the opening of a total of seven bridges and one tunnel. These included the country's first cable-stayed bridge that's part of the corridor.
H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani participated in the high-level meeting to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations via video conference on Monday.
Doha’s Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium (Qatar Sports Club) welcomed athletics champions of the world and the Olympics on Friday 25 September 2020 at the 2020 Wanda Doha Diamond League. This was the 24th edition of the annual outdoor track and field meeting in Doha and hosted Olympic and World medallists from all over the world. The competition took place without an audience this year in compliance with the country's precautionary measures for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has approved the accession of the city of Al Sheehaniya as a member of the Global Network of Learning Cities from the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. This accreditation comes in view of the achievement of all the criteria required to fill this membership through the municipality's adoption of the strategy for disseminating concepts of sustainability and partnership with civil society institutions, in order to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030.
Sheikh Mohammed Abdulla Al Thani, aka Moe Al Thani has successfully climbed the Ama Dablam, a mountain in the eastern Himalayan range in Nepal. He becomes the first Qatari to achieve this incredible feat of reaching the top of the 6,812 meters mountain. He is also the conqueror of the world's top seven summits.
HIA has been voted as the “Best Airport in the Middle East” for the fourth consecutive year by Global Traveler’s GT Tested Reader Survey Awards. One of the most prestigious and respected accolades in the business travel industry, the award honours the sustained, outstanding customer service offered by HIA in its passenger-oriented airport experience.
Qatar has won the rights in a bid against Saudi Arabia to host the Asian Games in 2030. The selection was made at the 39th OCA General Assembly in Muscat, Oman just now after votes were collected from all 45 National Olympic Committees. This will be the second time Qatar will be hosting the Asian Games after a successful event in December 2006.
The Qatar Central Bank announced the fifth issue of the national currency begins circulation on Friday, December 18th (Qatar National Day) through ATMs starting 12:01 am (00:01). According to QCB officials, the fifth edition contains more than 62 security features and many other specifications. A new cash category worth 200 riyals has also been unveiled, which will bridge the gap between the 100 riyals and 500 riyal banknote.
This year's National day parade was different as compared to the previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Qatar. The attendance for this year's National parade was for the families of the health sector and the participating bodies through special invitations, in compliance with exceptional precautionary measures to ensure the health and to ensure the safety of all members of society.
This year's National Day parade started with the entry of Qatar's White Army made up of doctors, nurses, Qatar Red Crescent Society employees and volunteers who were honoured for their efforts in curbing the spread of the coronavirus in Qatar while the armed forces sang a song to appreciate their efforts in addressing this pandemic.
H.H. The Amir Sheikh Tamim took his annual walk through Corniche to share the joy with the people of Qatar by greeting them after the National day parade.
In the presence of H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan hosted the 48th Amir Cup final on Qatar National Day to become the fourth fully operational FIFA World Cup 2022™ tournament venue to be inaugurated.
The stadium – which will become the new home of Al Rayyan Sports Club – follows Khalifa International, Al Janoub and Education City in being declared ready to host the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world. The 40,000-capacity venue will host seven matches during Qatar 2022.
Qatar started administering the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to people as it began a coronavirus COVID-19 vaccination programme on 23 December 2020. Dr. Abdullah Al Kubaisi, the former President of Qatar University, was the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Al Wajba Health Centre. Following the vaccination of Dr. Al Kubaisi, Mohammed Frazat, an 88-year-old Syrian resident, became the second person in Qatar to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sources: MOI; QNA; MoPH; Government Communications Office/ Ministry of Education; Awqaf; Supreme Committee for Crisis Management Press Conferences; Khalifa Al Haroon; H.E. Lolwah Al Khater/Twitter; MOI Twitter; GCO; The Peninsula Qatar; MADLSA and GCO; Lusail News; Hamad International Airport; Amiri Diwan; SC Press Release; Al Raya.
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