Qatar has made an unexpected change to its entry rules ahead of November’s World Cup, forcing all travellers to take a lab-certified Covid-19 test before arriving in the Gulf state, according to latest reports.
During the World Cup ‘test run’ this week, travellers were required to adhere to a handful of entry protocols ahead of their arrival, such as uploading an NHS vaccine certificate, filling out a passenger locator form and installing Qatar’s compulsory Covid app, Ehteraz.
Although the Gulf state has a 96 per cent vaccination rate which ranks fifth highest in the world the requirements will only continue for travellers once they touch down in Qatar.
According to the Telegraph, the Ehteraz app must be used before entering a restaurant or shop to serve as proof of vaccination, whilst also informing the user of local Covid levels.
While the app is apparently more user-friendly than its NHS equivalent, Ehteraz requires internet and could therefore hand travellers hefty data roaming charges.
Visitors can gain access to Doha’s Wi-Fi by registering ahead of the trip, but the network is reportedly slow and temperamental.
Despite the cumbersome proof of vaccination protocols, Qatar has recently relaxed its strict mask mandate to apply only to public transport and not shops and hospitality venues.
Service workers, such as security guards, waiters and chauffeurs, are still required to wear masks despite the scorching temperatures.
The winter World Cup kicks off on November 20 and will run until December 18.