Soccer-Qatar confirms COVID test requirements for World Cup fans

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Stadium Preview - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - September 29, 2022 General view inside the stadium ahead of the World Cup REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous

(Reuters) - Fans attending the World Cup in Qatar must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test regardless of their vaccination status, organisers said in a statement on Thursday.

All visitors aged six and over must present a negative result from a PCR test taken within 48 hours before their departure or from a rapid antigen test taken in the 24 hours before arriving, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said.

Results of the rapid antigen tests will only be accepted if they are from official medical centres and not self-administered. No further tests will be required in Qatar if visitors do not develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Visitors aged 18 and above will also be required to download a government-run contact tracing phone application called Ehteraz.

"A green Ehteraz status (showing the user does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19) is required to enter any public closed indoor spaces," the statement added.

Fans will have to wear masks on public transport but vaccination is not mandatory for the unprecedented influx of 1.2 million visitors expected for the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament.

"Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 while in Qatar will be required to isolate in accordance with Ministry of Public Health guidelines," the statement said.

Qatar has recorded more than 440,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 692 deaths from the virus, according to data from the Ministry of Public Health.

The country has a population of 2.8 million, of which barely 380,000 are Qatari nationals. A total of 7,487,616 vaccine doses have been administered so far, the data states.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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