CAIRO (Reuters) — Qatar tightened restrictions on commercial activities on Monday, ordering all shops to close until the end of the month as part of measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The decision taken at a cabinet meeting exempts pharmacies, food supply stores and food deliveries. Malls and dine-in restaurants were already closed but other stores had still been operating.
The country of some 2.8 million on Monday reported 1,364 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total to 33,969, the second highest infection count after larger neighbor Saudi Arabia among six Gulf Arab states. Its death toll from the virus stands at 15.
Qatar, where expatriates make up the majority of the population, has like other Gulf states seen the virus spread among low-wage foreign workers living in cramped quarters.
Other measures approved by the cabinet include requiring all citizens and residents to install a mobile app designed to track COVID-19 cases starting May 22, state news agency QNA reported.
No more than two people can be in a car and up to three in a chauffeured vehicle, while buses must operate at half capacity. People can exercise in public near their residence if they practice physical distancing and wear face masks, QNA said.
Reporting by Samar Hassan; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Sandra Maler and Lisa Shumaker
Image: Qatar National Bank in Doha, Qatar, June 13, 2017. (REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon)