Qatar Airways claimed on Thursday that twelve passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 after landing in Athens on Monday had been healthy when they left Doha just five hours earlier.
In a statement, Qatar Airways said “Upon arrival in Doha and before boarding the flight to Athens, all passengers were screened and tested according to the procedures and established health protocols and were found suitable to continue their journey.”
Greece immediately suspended all flights from Qatar until June 15 after testing the passengers upon landing.
“Following these epidemiological facts, flights from and to Qatar are suspended until June 15,” the Greek Civil Protection Authority said in a statement.
Greek officials said those testing positive for COVID-19 included nine Pakistani nationals who are legal residents of Greece, as well as two Greeks from Australia and a member of a Greek-Japanese family.
The passengers who tested positive are now quarantined in a hotel for the duration of two weeks. The rest of the passengers, who did not test positive, are also quarantined and will continue to be monitored for one week.
Qatar Airways says that it has issued staff with hazmat suits to wear during in-flight service.
They were part of a raft of measures the airline introduced beginning on Monday, May 25, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Qatar Airways cabin crews had already been wearing face masks and gloves but are now wearing the suits over their uniforms. It is also mandatory for passengers to wear masks or face coverings and there have been modifications to in-flight service as well.