Nasal, throat swabs collected from 175 evacuees who finally arrive from China

We’ve not been allowed to meet our parents or relatives, but that’s normal

Kathmandu, February 16

Government authorities today collected throat and nasal swabs of 175 Nepali nationals who were yesterday evacuated from coronavirus outbreak epicentre Hubei, China, and were sent to Nepal Electricity Authority Training Centre, Kharipati, Bhaktapur, for quarantine today.

National Public Health Laboratory Director Dr Runa Jha said test results would come on Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, the evacuees would be kept for 14 to 17 days, or longer, in quarantine. Those quarantined should record their body temperature twice a day and should immediately inform the medical team if they think they have any symptoms of COVID-19. The evacuees, however, will not be allowed to meet their parents and guardians during the quarantine period and will be under CCTV surveillance round the clock.

The evacuees expressed relief to be back home. Sandeep Upreti, one of the evacuees who hails from Itahari, thanked the government and all others for their efforts to bring them back. He said facilities provided at the quarantine centre were good and they did not have any complaint.

“We are relieved to be home from such a critical zone,” Upreti said over phone from the quarantine centre. “We’ve not been allowed to meet our parents or relatives, but that’s normal.”

Another evacuee Gaurab Pokhrel told THT over phone, “The government has tried to address all

major issues. Although this is the first time the government has carried out such an operation of this scale, it is better than what we expected. We are happy here.”

Pokhrel said they were more relaxed, could walk around and inhale fresh air. “Mental stress is significantly reduced and we feel safe,” he said.

The Chinese government has imposed a complete lockdown in Hubei province and residents have been asked to stay in their homes to prevent further spreading of the virus.

Meanwhile, the six Nepalis who were barred from boarding the plane for medical reasons have

returned to their respective universities, according to the Nepali embassy in China.

The six include a woman, a girl child and four males. The embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Sushil Lamsal said body temperature of four of the six was found to be higher than normal, while the female and the child were family members of one of the four. Therefore, they all decided to stay back.

Lamsal said everything was fine and the embassy was constantly in touch with them. He said chances of their returning home were slim. “Local authorities have collected medical samples from them and reports will come out tomorrow,” said Lamsal.