Passengers forcibly underwent extensive body examinations after a premature newborn baby was found abandoned in a toilet at the airport in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Passengers were forcibly subjected to extensive body examinations after the discovery of a premature newborn abandoned in the toilet at the airport in the Qatari capital, Doha, according to confirmed press reports.

Forced smears

The airport simply said that women had been asked to "participate" in requests to locate the mother of the baby, who is still alive, according to a statement.

The women, whose number was not specified, were disembarked from planes and taken to ambulances where they underwent examinations to find out whether they had recently given birth.

"Officials were forcing women to undergo body exams, mainly Pap smears," a source in Doha said on Sunday who was informed of an internal investigation into the incident.

Concerned medical staff

Doha International Airport reported that "medical staff had expressed concerns to airport officials over the health and well-being of a mother who had just given birth and asked to be located before she do not leave ".

"Individuals who had access to the area of ​​the airport where the newborn was found were invited to participate in the search," continued the airport authorities without specifying what had been asked of the women questioned, nor their number.

An ongoing investigation

The facts, reported by Australian television station Seven News, occurred on October 2 and were revealed by Australian passengers.

Due to the incident, one of the flights, Qatar Airways' QR908 to Sydney, was four hours late, according to monitoring site Flight Radar 24. Women from other countries and other flights have undergone similar examinations.

An investigation is underway in Qatar, according to Seven News.

"The newborn remains unidentified"

Doha Airport called on Sunday for the baby's mother to come forward, suggesting the exams had been for naught.

"The newborn remains unidentified, but it is in good health in the hands of medical and social workers," the airport said, calling on anyone with information about the mother to share it.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Seven News that it had "officially communicated to the authorities" in Qatar its "serious concerns about the incident".

He added that he had "received assurances that detailed and transparent information on the event would soon be provided" by Qatar.

Qatar practices Islamic law which severely punishes women who become pregnant outside marriage.

Asked Sunday, the company Qatar Airways did not comment.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced Qatar Airways to reduce the frequency and number of its flights.