Qatar News Weekly Update Edition. A recap of this week’s top stories in Qatar brought to you in conjunction with Marhaba, the number one guide to Qatar.

Last Saturday’s Peninsula ran a story on the seven Doha Film Institute supported films selected for the Toronto International Film Festival.

Among the films screening in Contemporary World Cinema is ‘Whether the Weather is Fine’ by Carlo Francisco Manatad. The film follows Miguel after he wakes up in the chaos of Typhoon Haiyan, which destroyed Tacloban, a coastal city in the Philippines, in November 2013.

Sunday and almost 90% of the eligible population are now fully vaccinated says the Ministry of Public Health

On to Monday now, and 517 people were referred to prosecution for breaking Covid safety rules. 412 for not wearing masks, 98 for not adhering to safe distancing, 3 for not complying with the conditions of quarantine, and 4 for not installing the Ehteraz app on their phone. it’s not over yet people, please continue to abide by these rules for everybody’s safety.

Tuesday and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has reminded everyone who carry out commercial activities in the country, like retail outlets, virtual platforms and home businesses, to clearly and predominantly display their list of prices for goods and services in Arabic. And if you don’t, you could face a fine of no less than 3,000 riyals and no more than 1,000,000 so it really is advisable not to forget to list your prices in Arabic.

On Wednesday the Ministry of Public Health said that they were going to start giving booster doses of COVID vaccines from that day. With priority for those aged 65 and above, those with chronic conditions, and frontline healthcare workers.

Yesterday it was announced that restrictions on outdoor work during summertime has come to an end. The ban on working outdoors came into effect on June the 1st and ended last Wednesday. During the ban it was prohibited to work under direct sunlight or in open workplaces from 10 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon. Oooo… winter is coming.

Now on to today’s news, and Al Ruwais port customs have seized a further 81.1 kilogrammes of hashish. This time it was hidden within the actual wooden framework of pallets being used to ship vegetables.

There were 648 new cases of COVID recorded locally, and 303 cases arriving into the country. Giving a total of 951 new cases in the last 7 days. And I’m very happy to report that there have been no COVID related deaths for the last 9 days straight.

There were 1,279 recoveries in the last 7 days, which means we have a new current total of 1,766 active cases. A drop of 328 since last week.

Centara West Bay has not just one, but three fabulous dining experiences for you enjoy. Starting with ‘Thai Kitchen’ which specialises in…. yes you guessed it Thai dishes. But tasty Arabic and international menus are available as well. I tried the Thai menu and trust me I will be coming back for more of that. Thai Kitchen also acts as a social hub including a happy hour and live sport broadcasts.

Next up is ‘Dalchini’. Drawing on the diversity of India’s regional cuisines, the team at Dalchini Restaurant & Bar serves a selection of progressive Indian dishes developed by Michelin starred chef, Alfred Prasad. Bring friends and share the joy of one of the best Indian restaurants I’ve tried in Qatar.

‘The Mezze House’, a stylistic trendy Lebanese Resto-Lounge, offering a flavourful modern mezze selections, can shake you up something delicious to drink as well.

This however is not a restaurant; this is just one of the bright and absolutely luxurious rooms within the Sabai Seaview Penthouse located on Centara’s 41st floor. Even the kitchen is large, as are its four airy, en-suite bedrooms. Just look at that view. Capable of sleeping 9 adults and 2 children there’s enough room for everyone.

Centara West Bay, a pleasure you’ll want to share.

A recap of this week’s big stories in Qatar, brought to you in conjunction with Marhaba, the most comprehensive and up to date guide to Qatar.

Starting off with last Saturday when it was announced that Qatar is seeing a huge jump in the number of visitors. The Gulf Times said that Qatar has seen a stupendous year on year jump in visitors, especially from the Gulf Cooperation Council and other Arab countries. The total number of visitors was 38,289 in July 2021 compared to 1,836 for the same period the previous year. Of the 38,289 visitors 75% arrived by air, 22% by the road and 3% by sea.

Sunday and the Hamad Injury Prevention Programme of the Hamad Trauma Centre has issued a list of best practises to keep residents, and especially their children, in Qatar safer while in cars during hot weather. They say it’s unsafe to leave children in vehicles in hot weather.

Onto Monday and action has been taken against 2,047 people for flouting COVID protocols. 1,289 for not wearing masks, 736 for not maintaining social distancing, and 22 for not installing the Ehteraz app on their phone.

Tuesday and customs foil an attempt to smuggle hashish. Al Ruwais customs has foiled yet another attempt to smuggle hashish into the country. 76 kilograms was hidden inside a diesel tank. Why haven’t smugglers realised yet, that customs have X-ray machines capable of scanning an entire truck.

Wednesday now and the Qatar Tribune’s front page carries the story that Shop Qatar, Qatar’s biggest retail festival is to kick off on September the 10th. Ooooo that’s today. The monthlong extravaganza will be the first major festival in Qatar since the onset of the pandemic. There will be up to 90% discount available in 15 participating venues. And over 60 leading hotels nationwide will run promotions, offering discounts and fun filled activities for the whole family.

Yesterday and the Cabinet confirms the continuation of COVID-19 measures.

And Ashghal uses 3D radar technology to detect road defects. They could also use my Kia Picanto, its tiny wheels seem to be capable of detecting every defect there is in roads.

Now for today and the Amir honours Paralympic medal winner Abdulqadir.

Qatar’s Covid figures continue to drop as they have done for the last 10 day’s straight. In the last seven days there were 419 cases arriving into the country, and 730 local cases reported. Brining last week’s new Covid cases to 1,149. There were also 2 Covid related deaths. But the good news is that there were 1,574 recoveries. Which means that this week’s active cases have dropped by a further 427, giving us a new reduced figure of 2,094 active cases.

From the moment you enter the Torch Hotel, the sheer magnitude of this breath-taking building tells you that you are somewhere very special indeed.

Unique by being both spacious and intimate, you can relax right in the heart of Qatar’s Aspire Zone. Quite literally surrounded by sport and right next to one of the FIFA World Cup venues, Khalifa Stadium.

You’re in the tallest building in Qatar, a beacon of style, cuisine and sheer luxury.

Rise above the rest, and enjoy a room full of pure brilliance.

Stylish, comfortable and full of all the very latest technology.

The Torch Hotel Qatar, the height of luxury.

A roundup of the week’s biggest stories in Qatar, brought to you in conjunction with Marhaba, the number one guide to Qatar.

Starting with last Sunday when it was announced that Formula One was in talks to stage a Grand Prix in Qatar this year. Formula One’s boss revealed for the first time that talks have taken place for the possibility of an inaugural Qatar Grand Prix this coming November.

Onto Monday and 84.7% of eligible population are now fully vaccinated according to the Ministry of Public Health.

And 1,143 people were referred to prosecution for COVID violations, 789 people were booked for not wearing a mask, 342 did not maintain a safe physical distance, and 12 did not install the Ehteraz app on their phone.

Tuesday and it was announced that Al Furjan parks are to be built across Qatar to ‘humanise cities’. The parks aim to change a car centric culture to a pedestrian and cyclist friendly culture.

And applications are being invited for Qatar’s tour guide training programme. The course will be conducted in English and the exam fee is 1,200 riyals, and the tour guide licence fee is 1,000 riyals per year. I’ve done the training programme and I’m a fully licenced tour guide, showing off Qatar to visitors is something I really enjoy doing. If you have some spare time, like working with people, and have a real passion for Qatar, I strongly recommend you sign up for this course. Oh, and you can earn some decent money as well.

Wednesday now and oh my goodness we’re into September. With some good news that fuel is to become cheaper this month. Diesel drops to 1.85 Qatar riyals, Super is down to 2.05 riyals per litre, and premium grade will cost just two riyals per litre.

And it was reported that there had been rain in the northern parts of Qatar the day before. A sign that the weather is starting to change.

And Qatar’s population shrinks to 2.38 million in July 2021, compared to 2.75 million in July 2020 a reduction of 370,000 people.

Yesterday, and the Peninsula said that 80 to 90% of traffic accidents in Qatar are caused by the use of mobile phones while driving, especially on highways. The fine for driving using or holding a mobile phone or any other device in hand, or becoming busy watching anything on a screen in the vehicle is 500 riyals. I’m not supposed to have an opinion, but I have one on this, I think the pain and suffering that can be caused by selfishly breaking these laws, deserves a higher penalty than 500 riyals.

Now onto today. And the Gulf Times reports on Hamad Medical Corporation performing Qatar’s first successful lung transplantation.

The Qatar Tribune has Qatar’s Foreign Minister and the UK’s Foreign Secretary visiting facilities housing Afghan evacuees.

And the Peninsula has the UK foreign secretary thanking the Amir for the Afghan peace process and evacuations.

Now for this weeks COVID update. And it’s really good news. There were 861 new local cases, and 434 arriving into the country. That’s a total of 1,295 new recorded cases in the last week. Unfortunately, there was also 1 COVID related death. And the good news is that there have been 1,637 recoveries, meaning that this week the active cases have dropped by 343 giving us a new current figure of 2,521 active cases.

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Starting with last Sunday when Qatar received 48,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. doctor Abdullatif Al khal said “The vaccines will be administered to eligible members of Qatar’s population as part of the vaccination programme, which is providing free vaccinations to all citizens and residents.”

On Monday it was announced that the Amir had set October the second for the historic Shura elections. The Prime Minister called on citizens to participate positively in the first elections to be held in the history of Qatar

The UK thanked Qatar for efforts towards peace in Afghanistan.

And the Tribune said that almost 70% of the population are now fully vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

Tuesday now and Qatar Tourism establishes a partnership with Cruise Lines International Association. Berthold Trenkel from Qatar Tourism said “This partnership is part of Qatar Tourism’s ongoing strategy to diversify the tourism sector in Qatar, and attract new customers segments, pointing out the cruise is an important pillar of our tourism strategy”

And the Gulf Times announced an increase in COVID-19 Red List countries after a Ministry of Public Health Update. Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka remain in ‘Special Risk 6 Country Zone’.

Wednesday and the Ministry of Public Health approved a third vaccine dose for people with low immunity.

And two million now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, says the Ministry of Public Health.

Yesterday the Qatar News Agency announced that the Cabinet has approved a draught resolution on entry visas and residence permits.

And the Peninsula said that health insurance and a return ticket are a must for family visit visas. Health insurance has become mandatory for family visit visas and the insurance is required to cover the complete stay of the visitor in the country.

And Doha is to host the new Qatar Geneva International Motor Show. A biannual event expected to launch in the autumn of 2023.

Now for todays news, and the Qatar News Agency say that the inauguration ceremony for Qatar’s F-15QA fighter aircraft, dubbed Ababeel, was held in the US. Ababeel will enhance the air superiority of the Qatar Amiri Air Force with more advanced fighters and a greater range and payload compared to any other fighter.

The Amir honours Team Qatar’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics champions.

And Qatar helps evacuate 40,000 people from Kabul.

Now here’s this week’s covid update. And there’s good news, in the last seven days there has been a slowing of new cases. There were 1,027 new local cases reported and 544 arrivals into the country. Giving a total of 1,571 new cases. That’s 107 less than last week.

There were 1,524 recoveries and no COVID related deaths. Which means that this week’s active cases have gone up by 47 to 2,864.

Of note is that there have been no COVID related deaths for the last 29 days.

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A recap of Qatar’s big stories for the week ending Friday 20th August. Brought to you in conjunction with Marhaba.

Starting with last Sunday when it was announced that the Qatar Vaccination Centre for Business and Industry Sector had administered over one million vaccine doses since it opened in June.

On to Monday and the Qatar News Agency said that the meetings of the Qatari-Russian tourism sector in Moscow had been inaugurated.

Tuesday and the announcement that Qatar has recorded a 46.4 billion Qatar riyal trade surplus in the second quarter of 2021. Qatar’s merchandise trade balance, which is the difference between the total exports and imports, jumped by 198.2% during the second quarter of this year compared to the same quarter of last year.

On to Wednesday and QNB announced that they have brought Apple Pay to their customers.

And the Ministry of Education and Higher Education has decided to adopt the blended education system, with rotating attendance in school premises for students of government schools for the new academic year 2021 to 2022, starting from August 29th.

Yesterday saw the United Nations refugee chief hail Qatar’s efforts in Afghanistan.

And the Cabinet approved 100% foreign ownership of major Qatari banks.

And in today’s papers the peninsula’s say that 20% of car charging stations will be powered by clean energy. So far 19 car charging stations have been installed across the country. And another 100 will be added soon.

Now for this weeks COVID update. There have been 1,085 new local cases reported in the last 7 days. And 593 reported arriving into the country. Giving a total of 1,678 new cases. There were 1,237 recoveries and no COVID related deaths meaning that active cases have risen by 441 since last week to 2,817 active cases.

Of note is the fact that even though active cases continue to rise slowly, there have been no COVID related deaths for the past 23 days.