On Tuesday, Qatar admitted that there were 12 cases of COVID-19 in a prison following a warning from Human Rights Watch (HRW) that prisoners may be at risk of contracting the disease.
Coronavirus reached the prison
HRW had said six non-Qatari detainees at Doha’s Central Prison “described a worsening in prison conditions.”
“They said the prison authorities further restricted the limited access of prisoners to basic medical care,” it added, describing the situation as “an apparent outbreak.”
Michael Page, HRW‘s deputy director for the Middle East, called for the release of “vulnerable inmates like the aged and others detained for low-level or minor crimes.”
As with other Gulf states, Qatar, where expatriates make up the majority of the population, has seen the virus spread among foreign low-wage workers living in cramped quarters.
Cases increase in Qatar
Nearly 34,000 people in the tiny Gulf country tested positive for COVID-19 — 1.2 per cent of the 2.75 million population — though only 15 people died.
Since Sunday, masks have been compulsory in public places in Qatar in an effort to stem the virus spread.
Violators of the new rules will face up to three years in prison and fines of up to $55,000. The world’s toughest penalties for not wearing face cover.
Anyone who leaves home will also be required to install a contact tracing app from Friday on their phones.
On Wednesday the Qatari health ministry announced 1,491 new coronavirus infections. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 37,097, official Qatar News Agency reported.
In a statement the ministry said 966 more have recovered. It brings the total number of recoveries to 6,600, while the fatalities have risen to 16.
Most of the new cases are expatriate workers who as contacts with confirmed cases are subject to quarantine.
So far a total of 170,437 people have taken COVID-19 laboratory tests in Qatar.
Qatar on Sunday started to introduce the world’s toughest sanctions of up to three years imprisonment. For failure to wear masks in public. It tackles one of the highest rates of infection with coronavirus in the world.