Travel News

Update: Qatar Airways Says the 12 Passengers with COVID-19 Were Screened and Healthy Before Departure

Written by Charlie

In response to Greece halting flights from Qatar to Greece after 12 passengers tested positive, Qatar Airways replied that the passengers were suitable to travel.

Yesterday, I wrote how Greece has suspended flights between Greece and Qatar after 12 of the 91 passengers on a Qatar Airways flight (from Doha) tested positive this week. As a result, all the passengers are in quarantine.

Qatar Airways Says All Passengers Were “Suitable”

As I said, the 12 passengers had all been transit passengers in Doha (Qatar Airways is one of the few airlines that has continued flying to Greece). Still, this was not good news for Qatar Airways as the world begins to restart travel – they delivered 12 passengers to a country that all tested positive on arrival.

Except, Qatar Airways put out a statement saying that all the passengers had been screened according to health protocols and found suitable to continue travel. It should be noted that they were not tested for COVID-19 in Doha but went through whatever health protocols Qatar Airways has established.

“When they arrived in Doha and before boarding the flight to Athens, all passengers were tested according to the procedures and established health protocols and were found suitable to continue their journey” according to the statement from Qatar Airways.

So, they apparently did not have any obvious symptoms when they transited but they arrived in Greece positive with the virus. But, they certainly had the virus as they did not pick it up in the 5 hour journey from Doha to Athens. Qatar Airways says they will work with Greece and the countries from where these passengers had originated (9 were Pakistani nationals that are Greek residents, 2 were Greek citizens from Australia and one was from a Japanese-Greek family).

This could be an early warning of a problem coming for airlines like Qatar Airways. Currently, they have screening in place that just missed 12 passengers with the virus. This could make many countries nervous allowing airlines like them deliver passengers to their countries.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Testing shouldn’t be the airlines responsibility.

    What now, every flixbus, boltbus and cross border train will need to test also?

    • You are right – it shouldn’t be. But, with flag carrier airlines like Qatar, Emirates, Turkish, etc, it is in their interest to make sure that countries are letting their airlines in. I don’t know how many countries at all test for transit passengers so that is something that would require a ton of money to setup for. Especially since transit passengers are not on the ground long enough for test results.

    • I get your point.

      Don’t the flights from one country to another also require a passport to board? And this is the airlines responsibility, no?

  • Curious as to how QA screened the passengers? Temperature and a questionnaire? As Mark Cuban has remarked, a fever can be temporarily defeated with a couple Tylenol.

    I read this week that the State of Alaska will require air passengers to have had a Covid test within 72 hours of boarding and to have that proof with them. Also Hawaii supposedly watching the Alaska protocol as a means to opening travel to the islands.

    • I know – I am not sure what their process is and, given that these were all citizens or residents, I think making it back to Greece would be important enough that maybe they would have considered something like the Tylenol (not saying they did and I don’t know any of them but if they were trying to get home, I could understand that).
      I am a bit surprised at the two from Australia. They had been locked down pretty hard and yet 2 people from Australia had it?