“Ah Gong tell you to wear mask, you wear mask!”
What If I don’t?
“Then Ah Gong will fine you $300 the first time you are caught not wearing mask!”
$300 just for not wearing a mask?
If you think that’s a lot, think again. Other countries have it worse, especially Qatar.
You Can Be Jailed Up to 3 Years if You Don’t Wear a Mask in Qatar
Just yesterday (17 May), Qatar started enforcing the world’s toughest penalties for failure of wearing masks in public.
So what happens if you violate the new rules? You can be jailed for up to three years of imprisonment and fined as much as $55,000.
Three years? Are you kidding me?
No, reader, unfortunately I’m not. There is a good reason for this hefty penalty. Its because Qatar has been battling one of the world’s highest COVID-19 infection rates.
Over in Qater, more than 30,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Qatar. This is 1.1% of the 2.75 million population, although the death number is currently at 15.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control stated that only the micro-states of San Marino and the Vatican had higher per capita infection rates.
If you’re driving alone in your vehicle, you are exempted from the requirement of wearing mask. However, several expats noted that police were stopping cars at checkpoints to warn them of the new rules before they took effect.
After the rules were announced, most of the customers who were gathered outside money lenders along Doha’s Banks Street yesterday wore masks. Those who did not were asked to use a face covering.
Month of Ramadan May Have Increased Infections
Given that its the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the Qatari authorities have warned that gatherings may have increased infections.
Mr Abdullatif al-Khal, co-chair of Qatar’s National Pandemic Preparedness Committee, stated last Thursday (14 May) that there was a high risk in gatherings of families due to Ramadan meals.
More gatherings meant a higher chance of transmitting viruses without knowing. Hence, there is a need to enforce stricter rules to ensure that infection rate doesn’t continue to rise for Qatar.
Currently, mosques, schools, malls and restaurants remain closed in Qatar. However, construction sites are still open as the country is preparing to host the 2022 World Cup.
On top of that, foremen and government inspectors are striving to enforce social distancing rules. Given that workers at three stadiums have been tested positive for the virus, wearing a mask is compulsory for construction workers since 26 April.
Now that you’ve seen the penalties of not wearing a mask in Qatar, do you feel like Ah Gong is nice to us now?
So don’t be a Sovereign. Or someone who likes to dabao at Robertson Quay.
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