Qatar gov’t and migrant workers unite to fight COVID-19

18 March 2020 13:42

Qatar’s Ministry of Labour (MADLSA) convened an emergency meeting with leaders of different migrant worker communities last 12th of March to relay information on the measures being taken by the Qatari government to protect its citizens and workers against the COVID-19 pandemic. Ministry officials appealed to the different migrant worker groups to reach out to their respective constituents and help in fighting the spread of the virus to their communities. “In many ways, you are in a better position to communicate with your communities,” a labour official said.

Migrant community leaders vowed to bridge MADLSA to migrant workers and their communities and pledged to help in monitoring the situation on the ground, especially workers’ accommodation facilities, where thousands of migrant workers are residing.

It was reported that MADLSA recently inspected worker accommodations, together with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Ministry of Interior, to ensure that preventive measures are put into place. 

According to MoPH, as of 15 March, 7,950 people have undergone testing, with 401 confirmed positive cases and 4 cases of recovery. 

As part of the government’s response to the health crisis, Qatar’s head of State, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad bib Al Thani, issued directives to initiate several new measures related to the economic and financial sector of the country, all of which will take effect on the 16th of March. 

Commenting on the developments, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said that while workers welcomed the measures initiated by the Qatari government to address the pandemic and the priority it placed on cooperation with the migrant worker communities, he stressed that “more needs to be done.” 

Yuson pointed out the need for the government to find ways to address the migrant workers’ confined living quarters, which he said could become possible transmission belts of the virus. 

“The number of infected people in Qatar is alarming. It shows that the virus is far from contained and could spread in other areas.  The migrant workers’ confined living quarters could add to the spread of the disease. I call on the government to mobilise all relevant resources to ensure the migrant workers’ health and safety.”