June 8, 2020 / 7:58 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Qatar to lift lockdown in four phases from June 15

(Adds details of plan to ease restrictions, background on Qatar)

CAIRO, June 8 (Reuters) - Qatar will start lifting coronavirus restrictions under a four-phase plan starting on June 15, when some mosques can reopen and flights can depart, government spokeswoman Lulwa Rashed al-Khater said on Monday.

She told a news conference the second phase of easing the lockdown would start on July 1, the third on Aug. 1 and the fourth on Sept. 1.

Restrictions could be reimposed or the stages delayed if necessary, Khater added.

The second phase will allow a partial opening of restaurants and the third will permit the resumption of flights from low-risk countries and the reopening of shopping malls and markets with limited capacity.

Priority on flights will be given to holders of residency visas, she said.

Everyone entering Qatar will be required to undergo a two-week quarantine in specially designated hotels at their own expense.

The fourth phase will allow all mosques to resume normal operation and for flight schedules to be expanded. Wedding parties, business gatherings such as exhibitions, and the reopening of theatres and cinemas will be permitted.

The fourth phase will also include the lifting of restrictions on educational institutions in time for the new academic year, Khater said.

Qatar reported 1,368 new coronavirus cases and three deaths on Monday, bringing the total to 70,158 cases including 57 deaths.

It has the second-highest number of cases after Saudi Arabia in the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which have recorded 279,662 cases of infection and 1,455 deaths. (Reporting by Hesham Abdul Khalek, Samar Hassan and Lisa Barrington Editing by Timothy Heritage and Matthew Lewis)

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