Nepal | July 04, 2020

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

Himalayan News Service
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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.

A group of a medical team in protective suits examine Nepali passengers as the Nepal Airlines aircraft returns from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak, bringing home Nepali citizens, at Tribhuvan International Airport, in Kathmandu, on Sunday, February 16, 2020. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

Nepali nationals were evacuated from six Hubei cities, including Wuhan (55), Enshi (26), Shiyan (29), Yichang (8), Jingmen (9) and Jingzhou (48). Of them, 134 are males and
41 females.

Of the 175 nationals evacuated, 170 are students, one employee, two visitors and two children.

Of the 185 people who had applied for evacuation, four decided to stay back, while six could not board the plane due to medical reasons. A chartered plane of Nepal Airlines brought the Nepalis home this morning.

quarantine Nepalis

Nepal Electricity Authority Training Centre in Bhaktapur, where it has been planned to keep Nepali evacuees from the Chinese province of Hubei for quarantine. Photo: Skanda Gautam/ THT

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.

 


A version of this article appears in print on February 17, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


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