Qatar drops coronavirus restrictions just before World Cup
Doha, Qatar – The World Cup has begun on Thursday and that’s just what Qatar has chosen to do right before World Cup opening matches.
The Qatari federation said it will lift all coronavirus-related restrictions as the country prepares for the tournament. The Qatari team did not travel to China after the virus was confirmed in the country.
“We have been informed that the opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar is currently scheduled to be played without any teams visiting China after being informed by an official of the Chinese government that there is a positive test for the novel coronavirus,” a statement said.
Qatar announced it would begin testing for COVID-19 on Tuesday, after two passengers with the illness who were on a British-registered flight from Guangzhou to Doha tested positive for the virus.
“We have decided that the health and safety of the public are more important than the travel ban imposed by the Chinese authorities on Qatar, and we are immediately postponing the opening match of the World Cup to be played on Friday, 20 March,” the statement said.
The Chinese government said it is closely following the situation and has taken preventive measures, including shutting down all the shopping malls.
On the whole, the World Cup has been a positive event in terms of social distancing and the coronavirus, but with a very few negative effects. The teams have been under constant surveillance and the stadiums have a lot of empty areas where the spectators could gather, without any public gathering. People have been banned from wearing sports shirts with team logos, and at times they can’t enter the stadiums to watch the matches.
In the last World Cup, the number of people who tested positive for the illness increased to nearly 50 percent, while the death toll in the Netherlands increased to 15, as the authorities waited for the virus to be contained and were still waiting for the virus to be confirmed in Qatar.
The World Cup will conclude on Sunday, when Brazil will play France in the final.