Tuesday 10 March 2020 3:51 AM UTC
New Delhi March 10: Qatar has temporarily banned the entry of people coming from India and 13 other countries in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The temporary ban will also be applicable on people coming from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand.
“This decision comes as a preventive measure due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide,” Qatar government said in a statement dated March 8.
According to the statement, the temporary suspension of entry would affect all individuals intending to enter from these countries, including visas upon arrival, those with residence or work permit, and temporary visitors.
Qatar Airways had announced a temporary suspension of flights to and from Italy, one of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier in the day, sources said Qatar Airways has stopped flights from India.
However, an airline spokesperson clarified that passengers from India cannot take the flight if their final destination is Doha but would be allowed to take connecting flights, without stepping out of the Doha airport.
Qatar Airways operates 102 weekly flights from Doha to 13 Indian cities, including New Delhi.
In a statement on Monday, Qatar Airways said it was placing a “temporary hold” on stopover services in Doha.
Also, passengers whose final destination is Doha will not permitted.
“Due to the rise in coronavirus cases around the world, we are placing a temporary hold on stopover services in Doha for the purpose of connection, booked through our partner and subsidiary, Discover Qatar, or booked directly through qatarairways.com.
“Passengers with onward connections will not be permitted to leave Hamad International Airport (HIA),” the airline said.
The carrier has decided to cancel all current stopover bookings. “A full refund will be offered, with support offered to make alternative travel plans with Qatar Airways,” it added.
Further, the airline said it was working closely with global and national authorities to implement the latest advice and guidance on coronavirus and operate its services accordingly.
Other airlines that fly to Qatar, include IndiGo, GoAir and Air India.
Meanwhile, budget carrier IndiGo on Monday said it is cancelling flights to Qatar till March 17.
There was no immediate statement from the other two airlines about the status of their flights.
An Air India Express official said flights to Doha are likely to be cancelled as the Gulf nation has banned entry of people from India and 13 other countries due to coronavirus scare.
Last week, Kuwait suspended operations of all flights to and from India and six other countries in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Saudi Arabia has also put in place travel restrictions. Passengers holding Umrah visa and tourist visa have been barred from travelling to Saudi Arabia. – PTI
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