Qatar Airways offloaded Pakistani passengers from two separate flights from Karachi and Islamabad amid fear of the spread of coronavirus.
The airline offloaded 48 passengers traveling from flight QR 615 to Doha from Islamabad and 48 passengers from another flight from Doha to Karachi, leading to a total of 96 Pakistani passengers stopped from flying to Qatar. All these passengers were traveling to Qatar on a visit visa.
JUST IN: Qatar bans arrivals from India, China, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines, Bangladesh, Thailand, and South Korea due to coronavirus.
— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) March 9, 2020
Meanwhile, Qatar has imposed a temporary travel ban on 14 countries including Pakistan as a precaution to stop the outbreak of coronavirus in the country. Other countries included in the travel ban are India, Nepal, China, Iran, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Syria, South Korea, Philippines, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Lebanon.
The travel ban is for the passengers traveling on on-arrival and a visit visa but passengers traveling on transit will be allowed to enter the country.
Qatar’s Government Communication Officer said the decision is additional to the suspension of Qatar Airways flight to and from Italy “a preventive measure due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide”.
“The decision affects all individuals intending to enter from these countries, including visas upon arrival, those with a residence or work permit, and temporary visitors,” said the press release.
Doha has urged “all citizens and residents to avoid all but essential travel at this time.”
Entry to Qatar has been suspended for travellers arriving from certain countries. Check out our travel alert for the latest updates.
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) March 9, 2020
“These precautionary measures may be subject to further updates based on the latest guidance of the national health authorities and international organizations on the spread of Coronavirus, to ensure the safety of all residents of the State of Qatar,” it clarified.
So far, Qatar has reported one case of coronavirus in a 36-year-old Qatari citizen who returned from Iran last month. Hence, the Qatari government has imposed a temporary travel ban on 14 countries as a precautionary move.
Meanwhile, the epidemic reached Pakistan from the pilgrims returning from Iran. Iran is among the countries that have recorded the highest number of deaths due to coronavirus.
In Pakistan, a total of seven cases of coronavirus have been reported.