UPDATED: Qatar bars foreigners from entering country for 14 days; transit passengers OK
Correction and update: Qatar Airways is not suspending all commercial flights, as a previous version of this story incorrectly stated. The nation of Qatar is temporarily suspending entry to foreign visitors, but flights are operating and transit passengers connecting to destinations beyond Qatar are still able to travel.
There's no denying that the novel coronavirus is an increasingly dangerous threat to citizens, communities and industries around the world.
One of the latest countries to add entry restrictions is Qatar, which announced foreign visitors will not be allowed entry into the country beginning at midnight local time after Wednesday, March 18.
"Passport holders of other nations will no longer be granted entry for a period of 14 days, after which the restrictions will be reviewed," Qatar Airways said in a statement posted to its website.
However, connecting passengers transiting via Doha (DOH) need not worry if they plan to stay in the airport between their flights.
"Passengers with onward connections through HIA will be accepted for travel and Qatar Airways’ global network will continue its operation for transit passengers as normal," Qatar Airways said. "Cargo operations remain unaffected."
In a statement to TPG, Qatar Airways said the following: "Alongside all airlines, Qatar Airways is taking significant steps to combat the COVID-19 virus and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and employees. Like everyone, we have watched the developments over the five weeks since this interview and the increasing scientific knowledge around COVID-19. We have also supported our friends in China with the delivery of hundreds of tonnes of medical equipment to assist their fight against the virus."
Qatar Airways has boasted some of the world’s best business-class seats and service for the last decade. However, the airline raised the bar with the unveiling of its revolutionary Qsuite in March 2017. These were the first suite-style business-class seats, complete with closing doors and layouts that could be configured into four-person family or work areas and even double beds.
For more on the coronavirus outbreak, see:
- What does the deadly coronavirus mean for travelers?
- Myth-busting: Will a face mask keep you safe from viruses on a plane?
- Should I travel? Advice for the coronavirus outbreak
- No coronavirus waiver? Some airlines have you more covered than others
- How a global outbreak has left the travel industry reeling