Qatar coronavirus cases pass 100,000 mark

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Qatar passed the milestone of 100,000 coronavirus cases on Monday, the health ministry said, as the country presses ahead with plans to re-open its economy.

The gas-rich emirate has one of the world's highest per capita infection rates with 100,345 people, 3.65 percent of its 2.75 million population, having tested positive for COVID-19.

Almost 94,000 of those infected have recovered and 133 people have died, one of the lowest reported rates globally.

Wealthy Qatar has a higher testing rate than many other countries, having screened 386,111 people—14 percent of the population.

"Measures taken to tackle COVID-19 in Qatar have succeeded in flattening the curve and limiting the spread of the virus," the ministry of public health said in a statement, adding there were a total of 546 new cases and five deaths in the last 24 hours.

"We are seeing a rise in the number of deaths in recent weeks and this is due to the people who were infected at the height of the virus several weeks ago."

Qatar has continued to reopen segments of its economy in recent weeks subject to strict social distancing measures as the average daily number of new cases has continued to fall.

In the past seven days there were an average of 748 new cases per day compared to 958 the week before.

Sun-lovers and jet-ski enthusiasts braved scorching on July 1 to be among the first to take advantage of reopened beaches, closed since March.

Beachgoers were required to wear masks, have temperatures taken and show mandatory phone-based contact tracing apps, as were customers of cafes and restaurants which resumed limited dine-in services last Wednesday.

Masks remain compulsory in public for those not exercising and private gatherings are limited to five people.

© 2020 AFP

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