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Blockade: ‘Blessing in Disguise’ During COVID-19 Outbreak



A business council official stressed that the economic blockade has made Qatar establish a stronghold in facing the coronavirus (COVID-19) challenge, adding that the country has been always ready to cope with any crises since 2017.

The [blockade] had equipped Qatar with the necessary tools to become a self-sufficient nation,” said Qatar-Indonesia Business Council (QIBC) president Farhan Al-Sayed.

The QIBC official was referring to the challenges that both the private and the government sectors are taking when four Arab countries stopped diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar over two years now.

He furthered that shortly after the blocade, Qatar Chamber and the Qatar Development Bank (QDB) endeavored to take initiatives that would help mitigate its effect on the economy.

To prevent the shortage of supplies in the State, major hypermarkets and groceries resorted to alternative suppliers and imported products from other countries.

The blockade, according to Al-Sayed, opened doors for legal and economic reforms enforced by the government. These resolutions were implemented to drive more foreign direct investments and to make Qatar a self-sufficient country.

In view of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, he asserted:

“This health pandemic has tossed the entire world in a state of panic and confusion and Qatar was not spared from the negative impact. However, this was short-lived because the country is prepared. While there was a sudden rush of people at hypermarkets earlier this month, store shelves were full the next day. Today, they are always full.”

“It only took a short period for establishments [in Qatar] to replenish their stocks. In some countries, there is still panic buying; once the shelves are refilled, people start hoarding groceries forcing some establishments to ration the supplies.”

Al-Sayed praised the government for its efforts to protect the community against the pandemic. He added:

“The directives issued by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to address the Covid-19 issue are very much commendable and praiseworthy. Looking back at the blockade, it helped the government prepare for any type of crises in the future.”

The head of the council expressed that Qatar has learned to be ready at all times, stressing the country’s established state-of-the-art storage and logistics facilities.

“Now the supermarkets are well stocked. All these are some of the signs that Qatar is prepared.”

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