The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs has criticised a statement issued by Bahrain about Doha’s offer to help Bahraini citizens stranded in a Qatari airport due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The director of the information office at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Rumaihi said on Twitter that the Bahraini citizens have been stranded in airports for almost a month now and their government has just decided to inquire about their health and safety after his country has offered to help them.
Ambassador Al- Rumaihi’s statement came in response to a statement issued by Bahrain’s National Communication Centre which warned the Qatari authorities against “interfering in in [repatriation] arrangements through operating commercial flights that expose all passengers on those flights to health perils resulting from the outbreak of the coronavirus”.
“The Qatari authorities should follow the precautionary rules and measures necessary to protect health and safety of passengers, aircraft crews and staff of different airports in line with the International Air Transport Association systems,” Bahrain’s news agency BNA reported the Bahraini National Communication Centre’s statement as saying.
Earlier on Saturday, Al-Rumaihi issued a statement saying as many as 31 Bahraini citizens have arrived at Hamad International Airport on board a Qatar Airways flight coming from Iran.
The statement said that “since the Kingdom of Bahrain does not allow commercial flights from Qatar, the Qatari officials have contacted their counterparts in Bahrain to inquire about the optimal way for Qatar to assist the Bahraini travelers and secure their safe return to their homeland”.
According to the statement, “Qatar has offered to fly the Bahraini citizens on a private charter flight to Bahrain at no expense to the individuals or the government of Bahrain”. However, the government of Bahrain has declined this option.
The statement added that the Qatari Ministry of Public Health has also offered to conduct coronavirus examination for the 31 Bahraini passengers and offer medical assistance to those who test positive for the virus.
“Those testing positive will receive free and full health care at once. Those testing negative will continue to observe self-isolation for two weeks at a quarantine hotel, at no expense to them,” the statement added.