Qatar Airways has now started to conduct mandatory Covid-19 antigen rapid tests before boarding on Doha – Male flights.
It is unclear why Qatar conducts these as Maldives requires a negative Covid-19 PCR test that is conducted 96 hours before departure.
You can access Qatar Airways here.
UPDATE: Here’s a statement that we received from a Qatar Airways spokesperson after publishing this piece:
Passengers flying with Qatar Airways to Maldives are not required to complete a rapid PCR COVID-19 test at Hamad International Airport unless they are travelling from Qatar as part of a Qatar Airways Holidays travel bubble package. A limited number of tests were recently carried out, purely on a trial basis, and we can confirm that no further test is required for travel traveling to the Maldives originating outside of Qatar.
These tests open up unanswered questions:
- What does Qatar do for passengers that test positive?
- Are they housed in Qatar at the state’s or airline’s expense?
- What happens to those traveling together when one tests positive but not others?
- Is the airline introducing similar measurements to other destinations?
- Are other passengers who were on the same flight/seated nearby as the infected passenger quarantined?
Here are the entry requirements to Maldives per UK Government:
Entry to Maldives
All cruise ships are currently banned from entering and docking in the Maldives. Entry of all safari boats, yachts and other passenger vessels arriving to Maldives from an overseas location is restricted indefinitely. Speak to your tour operator for further information.
Screening on arrival
Maldives reopened its borders on 15 July.
Effective from 10 September, all tourists and short term visitors must present a negative PCR test for COVID-19 on arrival to Maldives. The test and negative PCR certificate must be issued no more than 96 hours prior to departure. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.
All travellers to the Maldives must fill in a Traveller Health Declaration form 24 hours before departure to the Maldives.
All passengers and airline crew are also required to complete an Immigration Arrival Card when arriving in the Maldives.
Temperature checks and screening procedures will be in place on arrival. Quarantine facilities have been set up to isolate any suspected cases of COVID-19. Travellers presenting symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival will be subjected to a PCR test at the traveller’s cost or at the cost of the tourist facility where the traveller is booked to stay in the Maldives. Additionally, local health authorities may conduct random testing, at no cost to travellers.
I am sometimes baffled by what Qatar Airways does and where they get all these ideas.
Perhaps they transported Covid-19 positive passengers to the Maldives, and the state decided to take action against the airline unless they lower the numbers?
It is unclear what Qatar does for passengers who test positive? Inevitably there will be some.
Are they going to put them up at a Covid-19 camp at Qatar’s expense somewhere on the dessert? Certainly, they cannot mix positive passengers with others and transport them back to the point of origin?
If they decided to conduct rapid tests, it would make the most sense from the original point of departure and not in Doha, potentially stranding passengers.