Qatar World Cup: Fans won’t have to show negative COVID test to enter country | World News

Qatar is scrapping more COVID-19 rules ahead of the World Cup with visitors no longer required to present negative tests on entry from Tuesday.

The government also announced the coronavirus tracking app Ehteraz on phones will only be necessary for entry to health facilities – rather than being needed to access all public buildings.

The Gulf nation has already this week removed the requirement to wear face masks on the metro – with coverings only generally necessary in health facilities and some offices.

Qatar’s public health ministry said it was responding to the “number of COVID-19 cases continuing to fall around the world and in Qatar, and the ongoing roll-out of Qatar’s national COVID-19 vaccination programme”.

The government only said it “stressed the need” for precautionary measures to reduce the risk of infection, including being fully vaccinated – rather than making it a requirement.

Qatar’s latest data showed 421 positive cases and no deaths in the last 24 hours among 2,185 active cases.

The Middle East’s first World Cup opens on 20 November with the following day seeing England playing Iran, and Wales taking on the United States.

FIFA has predicted more than a million spectators will attend the tournament’s 64 matches, with around 10,000 England fans and 5,000 Wales fans thought to be among them.

COVID restrictions are not the only laws the country is relaxing, with the nation’s normally strict alcohol laws also being eased.

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Many fans are opting to stay in nearby Dubai, where the alcohol rules are less stringent, and then fly into Qatar for the games.

The tournament has been steeped in controversy since it was announced that Qatar would be the host nation.

Concerns over the conservative country’s attitude towards LGBT people have been front and centre, with gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell being arrested on Tuesday.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly was also criticised on Wednesday for saying that LGBT fans should “respect the culture” of the host nation.

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