DOHA: Coronavirus vaccinations will not be mandatory for the million-plus fans going to the World Cup in Qatar this year, authorities in the Gulf state said on Thursday. All visitors aged over six will have to produce negative COVID-19 tests before taking flights to Qatar for the tournament that starts November 20, the authorities said in new health guidelines.
The 29-day tournament will be the first major global sporting event with fans since the eruption of the COVID pandemic in December 2019. The Qatar organizers and world football’s governing body FIFA have said they want the event to be a sign that the world is getting over the devastating pandemic.
But they have warned that health guidelines will change if the threat blows up again. Fans will have to wear masks in public transport in Qatar and anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 “will be required to isolate in accordance with Ministry of Public Health guidelines”, the health ministry said. The ministry added that it may force players, referees and officials to stay in a secure “bio-bubble” if coronavirus cases take off “to allow for the safe operation and continuation of the event.” – AFP