MPs flay laxity to evacuate Nepalis from China

Kathmandu, February 4

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives today lambasted the government for the delay in evacuating Nepalis living in Hubei Province of China.

They also criticised the government for its inability to decide a place to quarantine China returnees.

They demanded for immediate evacuation of the Nepalis living in Hubei Province, an epicentre of the novel coronavirus disease outbreak.

Answering to questions raised by 14 lawmakers in the Parliament today Minister of Health and Population Bhanubhakta Dhakal said the government should evacuate the Nepalis in China with precaution.

“The government has been working to bring the Nepalis home without delay. We need to be alert and should adopt precautionary measures to bring them and also to prevent the disease from spreading,” said minister Dhakal.

“We have been thinking to quarantine Nepalis from China in places away from human settlement. They will be kept in isolation for 14 days. The place to quarantine them has almost been finalised,” said Dhakal.

Minister Dhakal said the government needed to coordinate with its Chinese counterpart to bring the Nepalis from their place of residence to the airport, back in China and then to Nepal. “There is still a lockdown in Wuhan. We also need to ensure the safety of those who will receive the Nepalis returning home from China,” the minister said.

According to the minister evacuated people will be will be taken to the place of quarantine in closed vehicles.

Lawmaker Devendra Raj Kandel said, “The Chinese government built a 1,000-bed hospital in a few days. It seems like the Nepali government will take 1,000 days to find a place to quarantine Nepalis coming from China.”

Responding to the lawmaker, minister Dhakal said, “Nepal government can’t act at the same speed as that of the Chinese government. However, we have made preparation to prevent the disease from spreading in the country.”

Responding to questions by the lawmakers about the government’s plan to prevent disease from spreading from people coming to Nepal from 24 other countries where it has been confirmed, Minister Dhakal said the medical team deployed at Tribhuvan International Airport would check the persons at its health desk.

Anyone with symptoms of the disease would be immediately sent to hospital.

The government has vacated 43 beds in hospitals across the country as part of its plan to treat people suffering from the new disease.

At least 190 cases of the disease have been reported in over two dozen countries.

Two people, one in Philippines and the other in the semi-autonomous Chinese city of Hong Kong have died outside mainland China since the outbreak began.