Qatar has decided to scrap COVID-19 rules in preparation for the World Cup. Visitors will no longer be required to submit negative tests upon entry starting Tuesday.
The government also stated that the Ehteraz coronavirus tracking app on smartphones will be used only for entry into health facilities, and not to access all public buildings.
Already this week, the Gulf country has removed the requirement for face masks in the metro. These coverings are only required in certain offices and health facilities.
Qatar’s public healthcare ministry stated that it was responding to “the continuing fall in COVID-19 case around the world and in Qatar and the ongoing rollout of Qatar’s national CoVID-19 immunization programme”.
Instead of making it mandatory, the government stated that it only “stressed” the need for precautionary measures to lower the risk of infection.
Qatar’s most recent data shows 421 cases of positive and no deaths within the last 24 hours, out of 2,185 active cases.
The first World Cup in the Middle East opens on November 20, with England facing Iran and Wales taking on America the next day.
FIFA predicts that more than one million people will attend the 64 matches. There are around 10,000 England fans, and 5,000 Wales fans.
COVID restrictions aren’t the only laws being relaxed in the country. The nation’s otherwise strict alcohol laws are also being relaxed.
Many fans choose to stay in Dubai near the game, as the alcohol laws are more relaxed. They then fly to Qatar for the games.
Since Qatar was chosen to host the tournament, controversy has surrounded it.
Concerns about the country’s treatment of LGBT people have been top of mind, with gay rights activist Peter Tatchell being detained on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary James CLeverly was also criticized for saying that LGBT supporters should “respect” the culture of their host country.