Copy of 2020-03-27T184351Z_873110567_RC2ISF9H2MLU_RTRMADP_3_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-BAHRAIN-1585480769019
People are seen at shops, following the outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Isa Town south of Manama, Bahrain. Image Credit: REUTERS

Cairo: Bahrain has demanded Qatar stop meddling in its plan to repatriate its citizens stranded abroad due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Bahraini response came after Qatar said late Saturday that 31 Bahraini nationals had arrived in Doha aboard a Qatari flight from Iran and that Manama had refused to facilitate their return home.

Bahrain, locked in a years-long row with Qatar, denied Doha’s allegation and accused it of operating flights that do not comply with the anti-virus hygenic rules.

“The Qatari authorities have to stop interfering in [repatriation] arrangements through operating commercial flights that expose all passengers on those flights to health perils resulting from the outbreak of the coronavirus,” Bahrain’s governmental National Communication Centre said.

“The Qatari authorities should follow the precautionary rules and measures necessary to protect health and safety of passengers, aircraft crews and staff of different airports in line with the International Air Transport Association systems,” it added, according to Bahrain’s news agency BNA.

The Bahrainis stranded in Doha, will be brought back home later Sunday on a flight “complying with the necessary medical precautions,” the centre said.