World Cup attendees in Qatar next year must be fully vaccinated, says Qatar

The government of Qatar has announced that everyone attending the World Cup in the Gulf state next year must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, The New York Times reported.

1.5 million fans are expected the attend the month-long tournament next November. The plans are likely to divide opinion.

The Middle East’s first World Cup is due to start in November 2021.

The prime minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, told state media on Sunday that the government planned to obtain 1 million shots to inoculate attendees if global efforts fell short.

“When the date of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 comes, most countries of the world will have vaccinated and immunised their citizens,” he said, according to Sky News.

“Due to the possibility that some countries will not be able to vaccinate all their citizens, Qatar will not allow fans to enter stadiums without receiving a full vaccination against the virus.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in February that matches would play to full stadiums in the Gulf nation next year.

Qatar is administering the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines to citizens and residents. About 57% of the population has received one dose, and 44% have been fully vaccinated.

Qatar has recorded 585 deaths and 220,800 cases during the pandemic.