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Starting from 13 August 2020, QR now has a new medical requirement

Starting from 13 August 2020, QR now has a new medical requirement

Old Aug 9, 20, 2:55 am
  #1  
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Starting from 13 August 2020, QR now has a new medical requirement

Received this email for QR last night:

"Dear Valued Customer,
At Qatar Airways, we continue our commitment to getting you safely where you need to be. Starting from 13 August 2020, we have a new medical requirement applicable for all our passengers travelling from select countries*.
When flying with us, you will be required to:

Provide a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result issued within 72 hours prior to your flight departure from one of the authorised laboratories. Children less than 12 years old who are travelling with family members are exempted from the test. To view the list of approved laboratories, please click here. Complete and submit a consent form at check-in along with the negative test result. For ease, you can download the form and complete it ahead of your travel. Please click here to download the form.

Affected countries are Bangladesh, Brazil, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. When flying with us, you will be required to: If you are unable to provide the negative test result and consent form at check-in, we will not be able to proceed with your flight boarding. When you travel with us, you can expect the highest standards of hygiene and the latest security measures throughout your entire journey, whether on board or at our state-of-the-art hub, Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar."

So question begs to be asked, if everyone on board is tested before being allowed to board, that would mean no one on board is positive for COVID, will masks and social distancing still be required? Of course there is a chance one comes in contact with a person positive with COVID after being tested and then can be positive, which begs the question why test in the first place?

For myself and SO here in the Philippines, it presents a bit of a challenge, when we started looking at the Qatar approved laboratories here near us, the cost ranges between $125-$165 USD per person, and all of them told us it takes 2-3 days to get the results, that's pushing it kind of close to their 72 hour requirement. If we do not get the results in time before the time of departure, I am wondering if the unlimited free changes will still be in effect so close to departure? As an added issue for those departing between August 13 and August 18, Metro Manila is currently under MECQ (Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine) until August 18 where the status will once again be re-evaluated, with somewhat strict lockdowns in place possibly preventing people from being able to go to the approved labs for testing.

Trying times indeed for travel these days to say the least.

Last edited by craig44485; Aug 9, 20 at 6:40 am
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Old Aug 9, 20, 3:24 am
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Originally Posted by craig44485 View Post

So question begs to be asked, if everyone on board is tested before being allowed to board, thats would mean no one on board is positive for COVID, will masks and social distancing still be required? Of course there is a chance one comes in contact with a person positive with COVID after being tested and then can be positive, which begs the question why test in the first place?
I'm captured by this new policy too. My thoughts are that this is about reducing not eliminating risk and that's why the other protocols (masks etc), will remain in place. My second thought is that this might be action to match EK, who require this testing approach from many (the same?) countries.

Leaving aside the health merits, it may be that some passengers are attracted by EK's more stringent requirements and QR foresee loss of business if it does not follow suit. QR may also judge that it further reduces the risk of their flights becoming news headlines and any unflattering comparison with other carriers with regard to incidences of COVID transmissions onboard.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 5:28 am
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More details could be found here;

https://www.qatarairways.com/en/trav...19-update.html

RT-PCR Medical Test Requirement

For the safety of all passengers, effective 13 August, Qatar Airways requires passengers travelling from specific airports in the below countries to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR medical test result when checking in.

In our current network, these countries are Bangladesh, Brazil, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. They will also be required for passengers travelling with Qatar Airways from India, Nepal, Nigeria and Russia, when we resume our services to these countries.

Tests must be issued within 72 hours before departure, from laboratories that are approved by Qatar Airways, and paid for at the passenger's expense.

Those that do not have a copy of their medical test certificate alongside a consent form will not be permitted to travel on Qatar Airways flights. Children below the age of 12 years are exempt from this test if accompanied by family members that have presented a negative test result.

For further information, see our frequently asked questions page.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 7:44 am
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More carriers are adopting these measures and some countries, Portugal for example, are requiring it as a matter of law.

It is all about reducing, not eliminating risk. It is also something customers very much want. People favor air carriers, hotels and car services which have stringent requirements because it reduces their risk and makes them safer.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 9:20 am
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Many countries have applied this requirement for the USA. Strange that QR has not done so.
Personally, I would be very happy if QR had this testing requirement from every high-risk country, High-risk being defined broadly.
Anyone coming from a low-risk country and transiting in DOH can get pax from high-risk countries on their second segment. Nonstops are less dangerous.
Anything that can reduce the risk is welcome.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 12:20 pm
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Those policies unnecessarily subject passengers to extra costs and hassle.

The value of tests 72 hours BEFORE the flight is minimal.

A person can become infectious between the test and the flight, and it will be classified as Covid negative on the test.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 1:40 pm
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Originally Posted by smartytravel View Post
Those policies unnecessarily subject passengers to extra costs and hassle.

The value of tests 72 hours BEFORE the flight is minimal.

A person can become infectious between the test and the flight, and it will be classified as Covid negative on the test.
"Minimal"?

Most infectious disease specialists would disagree with you.

The less time from test to flight, the better. But, the goal is to reduce, not eliminate all risks as the latter is not practically possible.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 7:36 pm
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Originally Posted by smartytravel View Post
Those policies unnecessarily subject passengers to extra costs and hassle.

The value of tests 72 hours BEFORE the flight is minimal.

A person can become infectious between the test and the flight, and it will be classified as Covid negative on the test.
I tend to agree. 72 hour before the flights assumes it's also easy to find an approved laboratory to do the test and that the results will be made available in time. Like I stated, all of the laboratories they approved in Metro Manila state 2-3 business days to get the results. With a flight that departs at 23:40 makes it a bit more difficult. One could be waiting they day of departure to get the results. At what point does/can a person move their flight? Making people go to get the tests also puts them at a higher risk as they are going to places with confirmed cases of COVID to get the test. We've been locked down in our condo since March 18, have not ventured outside the condo complex this whole time.
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Old Aug 10, 20, 1:20 am
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Whilst I sympathise in the difficulties of being tested and the OP's perspective I can very much understand Qatar's view and the basis for the tests, which is mainly risk mitigation. This is coming from someone who just did HKG-DOH-ATH and return in the last week. I considered Doha airport the highest risk part of the journey, mainly due to people from other countries with less strict controls / higher incidence rates. Hong Kong has also implemented similar strict rules for a very similar country list that has caused a lot of problems, particularly for those travelling from India. I would still wear the mask and face shield, but feel more comfortable knowing others on the plane (who's behaviour I can't control) would be less likely to pass on any virus.

Whilst inconvenient, and by the sounds of it expensive, this is the new world of travel. Qatar had an entire flight turned back at Athens a few weeks back due to a high number of positive cases and then were banned for a week or so (I understand from the news that 9 of the 12 passengers were from a country on this list, Pakistan). I appreciate that hundreds of dollars is a lot for an economy ticket, but probably not that bad an increment for business class. You can get a refund if it is too inconvenient, but I suspect that this will increase and become more frequent (both for more countries and more airlines) till we have a vaccine, then it will switch to a vaccine certificate/proof.
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Old Aug 10, 20, 1:52 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
More carriers are adopting these measures and some countries, Portugal for example, are requiring it as a matter of law.

It is all about reducing, not eliminating risk. It is also something customers very much want. People favor air carriers, hotels and car services which have stringent requirements because it reduces their risk and makes them safer.
It remains to be seen if these measures really attract guests. I am afraid it will scare away even more urgently needed revenue paying clients: There is the risk that you do not get the result in time and it may also be wrong (which is often the case in both directions), let alone the high cost and time you need to make the test. And if people think twice they will quickly come to the conclusion that such tests do objectively not much change the risk exposure.

By the way in Portugal (as far as I know) only the islands require this test not the mainland. And if you can not bring one in advance they will test you free of charge at the arrival airport and you have to wait max 12 hours for the result in your own hotel room. They even provide alternative hotel accommodation should you be tested positive for the time of quarantaine and test you again to see if the result is still valid. In my opinion this is an entirely different proposition to clients who want to travel: no cost, no hassle and they take care of the clients in a positive manner while other countries and these three airlines now just introduce an immese level of bureacracy with no practical support for the customer. I believe they will in the end regret these ideas or at least the overall industry will suffer from even less demand.
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Old Aug 10, 20, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by Donegal View Post
It remains to be seen if these measures really attract guests. I am afraid it will scare away even more urgently needed revenue paying clients: There is the risk that you do not get the result in time and it may also be wrong (which is often the case in both directions), let alone the high cost and time you need to make the test. And if people think twice they will quickly come to the conclusion that such tests do objectively not much change the risk exposure.

By the way in Portugal (as far as I know) only the islands require this test not the mainland. And if you can not bring one in advance they will test you free of charge at the arrival airport and you have to wait max 12 hours for the result in your own hotel room. They even provide alternative hotel accommodation should you be tested positive for the time of quarantaine and test you again to see if the result is still valid. In my opinion this is an entirely different proposition to clients who want to travel: no cost, no hassle and they take care of the clients in a positive manner while other countries and these three airlines now just introduce an immese level of bureacracy with no practical support for the customer. I believe they will in the end regret these ideas or at least the overall industry will suffer from even less demand.
That is incorrect for Portugal.(Decree Law no. 7595-A / 2020, of July 31).
Except for flights arriving from EU+, Canada and Morroco,All passengers (including Portuguese citizens, residing in Portugal and their families) on the flights described in paragraphs c) and d) must present proof of laboratory testing (RT-PCR) for the screening of SARS-CoV-2, with a negative result, performed within 72 hours prior to the time of departure, or they will be denied boarding.

NOTE - The test must be a molecular RT-PCR test and rapid tests are not acceptable.

I for one, would not hesitate a moment if given the choice between an airline that implement strict testing requirement and a lax airline.
You can see that some flights arriving in Hong Kong had 30 pax tested positive on arrival (EK) or more than 10 (QR, EK). Those would probably have tested positive upon departure and we know that asymptomatic cases are contagious.
Until QR (and EK) require advance tests from all high-risk countries, I will not feel safe aboard.
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Old Aug 10, 20, 7:16 am
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
That is incorrect for Portugal.(Decree Law no. 7595-A / 2020, of July 31).
Except for flights arriving from EU+, Canada and Morroco,All passengers (including Portuguese citizens, residing in Portugal and their families) on the flights described in paragraphs c) and d) must present proof of laboratory testing (RT-PCR) for the screening of SARS-CoV-2, with a negative result, performed within 72 hours prior to the time of departure, or they will be denied boarding.

NOTE - The test must be a molecular RT-PCR test and rapid tests are not acceptable.

I for one, would not hesitate a moment if given the choice between an airline that implement strict testing requirement and a lax airline.
You can see that some flights arriving in Hong Kong had 30 pax tested positive on arrival (EK) or more than 10 (QR, EK). Those would probably have tested positive upon departure and we know that asymptomatic cases are contagious.
Until QR (and EK) require advance tests from all high-risk countries, I will not feel safe aboard.
This is a worldwide sentiment on the part of high value customers who may choose whether they travel and, if they travel, on what carrier. Same for the places they stay, eat, and are driven around.

Quarantine and contact tracing are fine so far as they go, but they don't prevent transmission on arrival for the hours spent in the air and thereafter getting to quarantine.

Anybody looking for 100% safety will not find it.
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Old Aug 10, 20, 7:27 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This is a worldwide sentiment on the part of high value customers who may choose whether they travel and, if they travel, on what carrier. Same for the places they stay, eat, and are driven around.

Quarantine and contact tracing are fine so far as they go, but they don't prevent transmission on arrival for the hours spent in the air and thereafter getting to quarantine.

Anybody looking for 100% safety will not find it.
Why are you assuming that high value customers want this? For someone traveling frequently for business, it's a time wasting hassle and will depress travel even more.
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Old Aug 10, 20, 9:33 am
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Just want to share this statistics.
From 23-April-2020 until 09-Aug-2020, there are about 132K OFW's (Overseas Filipino Workers), based on DOTrPH twitter page, were repatriated from different countries to Philippines.
Most of them were not required to get negative PCR test result before they fly. And most of their flights are full, no social distancing, no face shields, and sometimes, they remove their face mask whenever they eat their meals. Some airlines just implemented this negative PCR test rule last July, if I am not mistaken.
Based on the record from the Dept. of Health (https://www.doh.gov.ph/covid19tracker), there are only about 6,345 of the repatriated (as of 10-Aug-2020) who were tested positive of covid-19. The test was done upon their arrival at the airport in Manila. If my calculation is correct, that's about 4.8%.
But here's the latest. From August 1 to 8, the number of repatriated is around 14,831 pax. Out of this, the number of positive is only 190. That's only 1.3%. Does that mean that it is due to more stringent requirement in placed by more airlines before flying? Theoretically, it should reduce the number of positive case on the flight. These airlines should have the data posted somewhere.
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Old Aug 10, 20, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This is a worldwide sentiment on the part of high value customers who may choose whether they travel and, if they travel, on what carrier. Same for the places they stay, eat, and are driven around.

Quarantine and contact tracing are fine so far as they go, but they don't prevent transmission on arrival for the hours spent in the air and thereafter getting to quarantine.

Anybody looking for 100% safety will not find it.
Not for this (relatively) high value customer. I really don't see how three days out the test offers much re-assurance (not that personally I feel in any way I need re-assurance).
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Last edited by mr_botak; Aug 10, 20 at 10:47 am
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