Qatar Presses On With World Cup Projects Despite COVID-19

Work on the Qatar World Cup stadiums and the megaprojects linked to the tournament continue at an accelerated pace, despite strict social distance rules to contain the spread of coronavirus among the workforce in most migrants.

Dozens of workers with covered faces and almost identical blue overalls screamed through the vast skeleton of Lusail Stadium, an arena to host the 2022 tournament final.

Dozens of vehicles, including buses, bulldozers and water trucks, crossed the complex of new parks, apartment buildings and tram stops around the stadium, which will become the largest in Qatar, with a capacity for 80,000 people.

The number of confirmed infections among those involved in building facilities for 2022 is eight out of three stadium projects, but organizers have not paid anything since Friday.

The Qatari authorities have declared 7,764 confirmed infections across the country, 10 deaths and 750 recoveries.

The supreme committee responsible for delivering the tournament said it is analyzing the situation continuously and will take the necessary measures to protect the health and safety of all construction workers and direct employees.

These measures “may include temporarily suspending work as and when necessary,” he added in a statement.

Construction work on stadiums and infrastructure to organize the tournament continued during the crisis, even when non-essential retailing was disrupted and mosques, parks and restaurants were closed.

Work on roads, the airport and other infrastructure continued during the health emergency.

As of Sunday, it will be mandatory for all construction workers in Qatar to wear masks.

Previously packed buses transporting workers between their home and workplaces were ordered to allow only one passenger for every two seats, in order to limit the risk of transmission.

The Labor Ministry said last week that it had sanctioned a company hired for not operating its workers transport buses at 50% capacity.

Human rights groups have raised concerns that restricted living conditions, common food preparation areas and common sanitary facilities found in accommodation for workers could exacerbate the spread of the virus and compromise measures of social detachment.


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