The Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways has come under fire for doubting the existence of the deadly coronavirus, an outbreak that the World Health Organization has labeled as a global pandemic.
In a February 5 interview with Bloomberg that has since resurfaced on social media, Akbar al-Baker said, “During the incubation period, they say that this virus can be transmitted. There is no scientific evidence for that. It is just, you know, a fear factor.”
Globally, more than 134,500 people have been infected with the virus. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Qatar has reached 262, according to the Ministry of Health.
The CEO also criticized governments’ decision to suspend flights to virus-hit countries, saying that officials “don’t realize the operational impact it would create on an airline.”
“What evidence [do] you have that on every single airplane you do not have three or four people with contagious disease sitting next to you?”
Qatar on Monday banned the entry of people arriving from 14 countries, including Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq, in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.