COVID-19: Qatar bans and travel advice will affect medical tourism

Qatar has expanded the list of nationalities banned from entry as part of measures to curb contamination by the fast-spreading Coronavirus. The ban now covers Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand. Several countries including Egypt have banned entry to all Qatari residents.

The government has not yet banned Qataris from going to any of the 13 countries, but all Qatari nationals and residents have been advised to avoid all but essential travel to any country.

Inbound medical tourism to Qatar is very small but 30,000 Qataris go overseas for treatment each year.

Some Qataris prefer to seek medical treatment in Europe. But one in three go to Thailand.
In 2016, 19% of international medical tourists to Dubai were from Qatar. Since 2017 they cannot go to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Dubai, Egypt or Bahrain.

The Ministry of Public Health operates four overseas medical offices to arrange patients’ procedures, receive them at the airports, supervise their treatment processes, follow-up their cases, and pay them their daily allowance. It has four offices abroad (London, Washington, Bonn, Bangkok), but all these destinations have COVID-19 related deaths and confirmed cases, but the organisation refuses to say what its plans are for future overseas medical treatment.

Qatar has recently said it has 18 confirmed cases, some of these being local expatriates, and has closed all schools and universities,
The population of Qatar is 2.84 million, which includes 2.11 million expatriates.