Nepal | September 20, 2020

Civil Aviation Ministry preparing for fifth phase of repatriation

Himalayan News Service
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KATHMANDU, AUGUST 12

As the reopening date of flights has been postponed by the Cabinet meeting held on Monday, the government has also announced that it will conduct fifth phase of repatriation flights.

Based on the government’s announcement, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) is preparing for the repatriation.

As the COVID-19 cases are increasing massively in the country, the Cabinet has decided to bring a maximum of 500 Nepalis per day from abroad. However, Suresh Acharya, the joint secretary of MoCTCA, claimed that the number limitation in repatriation is quite difficult to execute.

“The Cabinet has directed to evacuate not more than 500 passengers per day, which is not possible,” he said, “The number of ticket booking matters and we have to bring people as per the capacity of aircraft, thus 500 passenger limitation is not possible.”

According to him, two narrow-body aircraft will not be able to accommodate 500 passengers, while a wide body aircraft will be too big for just 500 passengers, thus, MoCTCA is holding discussions with the concerned authorities.

As per the government’s Spokesperson Yubaraj Khatiwada, who is also the information and communications minister, the Cabinet has given a go-ahead for the fifth phase of repatriation flight under which 300 self-financing passengers will be repatriated per day on the recommendation of the respective embassies.

Meanwhile, the daily repatriation of the remaining 200 Nepalis will be covered through the Foreign Employment Welfare Fund.

Khatiwada further said that it will be mandatory for the passengers evacuated under the fifth phase of repatriation to stay in quarantine in the Kathmandu valley. And they will be sent back to their homes only after their COV- ID-19 tests come negative. The quarantine will be arranged in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.

Prior to this, it was not mandatory for all the returnee passengers to stay in quarantine.

And those who wanted to go to their home districts were sent there directly as per the arrangements with the respective provincial and local governments.

“We are working as per the Cabinet’s directions and are also having frequent discussions with all the stakeholders,”

Acharya said, “Within a couple of days we will prepare the entire framework on repatriation flights and arrangement of quarantine for evacuated passengers.”

The passengers will have to take a PCR test within five to seven days of arriving in the country and will be sent home only if their report shows they have tested negative for coronavirus, he added.

The government started repatriating Nepalis from abroad on June 10. Since then, a total of 48,832 Nepalis have returned home till date.


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