In the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, Qatar has temporarily banned the entry of citizens from India and 13 other countries.
The immediate prohibition would also extend to citizens from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand.
“This decision comes as a preventive measure because of the worldwide spread of coronavirus (COVID-19),’ said the Qatar government in a statement dated March 8.
According to the document, temporary suspension of entry will affect all individuals planning to enter from these countries, including visas upon arrival, those with residency or work permits, as well as temporary tourists.
Qatar Airways had announced a temporary suspension of flights from and to Italy, one of the worst affected countries by the coronavirus outbreak.
An airline spokesman explained, however, that passengers from India would not be able to take the flight if their final destination is Doha but would be allowed to take connecting flights without leaving Doha airport.
Qatar Airways operates 102 flights per week from Doha to 13 cities in India including New Delhi.
Qatar Airways said in a statement on Monday it was putting a “temporary hold” on Doha’s stopover services. Passengers whose final destination is Doha will also not be able to do so.
“Because of the rise in coronavirus cases worldwide, we are keeping temporary stopover services in Doha for connection purposes, booked through our affiliate and subsidiary, Discover Qatar, or booked directly through qatarairways.com. ‘Passengers with onward connections will not be permitted to leave Hamad International Airport (HIA),’ said the airline.
In addition, the airline said it had been working closely with global and national authorities to incorporate the new coronavirus advice and guidance and to operate its services accordingly.
Certain airlines flying to Qatar include IndiGo, Air India and GoAir.
Meanwhile, on Monday, budget carrier IndiGo said it would cancel flights to Qatar until 17 March.
The other two airlines did not immediately state the status of their flights.
An official at Air India Express said flights to Doha are likely to be canceled as the Gulf nation has barred people from India and 13 other countries from entering because of coronavirus scare.