General Impact of Covid-19 in Qatar
Qatar reported its first case of COVID-19 on the 29th of February 2020. The Qatari government worked quickly to contain the virus by locking down the country, enforcing social distancing and conducting proactive and extensive testing.
The measures taken to tackle Covid-19 are limiting the spread of the virus and the country is seeing the number of new cases and hospital admissions decline each week.
Qatar has one of the lowest Covid-19 death rates in the world and this is due to the very high quality of care provided by the public healthcare sector and by the extensive testing carried out to identify cases early. Qatar has also increased its hospital capacity, particularly in intensive care and continues to protect the elderly, vulnerable and those with chronic disease.
Restrictions are now gradually being lifted however Qatar is not out of the woods yet. All precautionary methods, such as social distancing, avoiding close contact with others, wearing face masks and washing hands regularly must be adhered to by everyone to control the virus.
Recruitment during the Pandemic
During the height of the pandemic, all onboarding of placed medical professionals as well as new recruitment was frozen. Qatar Embassies, Licencing and Immigration authorities and Hamad Airport were all closed to any normal business other than repatriation.
As new cases of Covid-19 decreased and government bodies started to function again, there was a small progression in the joining of urgently required physicians, nurses and paramedics, which had its’ own challenges with expired medicals, police certificates, visas and minimal flights available from nominated countries. Over the last few months, we are steadily seeing the approval of visas and flights. Candidates and their families stuck in limbo are finally realising their new life will become a reality soon.
With the backlog of medical professionals being progressed for onboarding at last, this has also enabled the recruitment teams to start looking at their new requirements. To date, we have seen some GP, Obs & Gynae, Neurology, Rehabilitation Medicine and Emergency Medicine roles become available. With 2021 just around the corner we hope that we will see more opportunities very shortly. You can register your details on www.headmedical.com to receive new vacancy alerts.
What to expect when travelling to Doha
Before your flight is booked, you will need to gain approval and be issued with an Entry Permit to accompany your Work Visa, which is a necessity for entering Qatar. You will need to present this to the Qatar Airways check-in desk at your departure airport.
For your flight to Doha, you will be provided with a transparent face shield which you are expected to wear for the duration of the journey. During the flight, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding any illness symptoms and chronic diseases and will also be asked to sign a declaration to commit to the self-isolation requirements on arrival.
On arrival into Doha, you will have thermal screening and a temperature check carried out as well as a swab test. If this is negative, you will then be taken to your quarantine accommodation where you will be expected to remain for 7 days. A further test will be taken on day 6 of your quarantine period at one of the dedicated health centres.
Upon arrival at Hamad Airport, you will need to purchase a local Sim card and download the Ehteraz app onto your phone. You will be required to show this to many public buildings such as government agencies, hotels, malls and restaurants to gain entry. The app has a colour coded system which shows green if you are healthy and not showing any symptoms, yellow if you are in quarantine, grey if you are suspected of having Covid and red if you have had Covid confirmed. Following your arrival into Doha, your app will show yellow until you have completed your quarantine period and only following a second negative Covid test will this then turn to green.
Once you have completed your 7 day quarantine period and on successful confirmation of a second negative Covid test, you will then be able to move into your routine accommodation and commence your onboarding with the healthcare provider you will be working for.
What to expect in Qatar
At the beginning of June, Qatar announced its four-phase strategy to reopen the country. Restrictions have gradually been lifted over the past 3-4 months, in line with a set timetable. The lifting of restrictions has combined a balance between restoring the economy and social interaction as well as protecting the public.
Many public facilities, including mosques, malls and restaurants have re-opened although some have restrictions on opening hours and capacity. Outside recreation facilities have reopened, again with some restrictions and large gatherings of up to 15 inside and 30 outside can take place so long as the guidelines in place are strictly adhered to.
Precautionary methods have remained in force throughout all stages of the re-opening and will continue to be in place for the foreseeable future. These methods, much like every country in the world in these times, primarily include keeping a safe distance, wearing a face mask in public, washing hands regularly and avoiding large gatherings where possible.
If you are a Physician interested in finding out more about opportunities in Qatar, get in touch with the team on +44 (0)131 226 2200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org