Quarantined China evacuees test negative for COVID-19

Kathmandu, February 19

Nepalis, who are under quarantine at Nepal Electricity Authority Centre, Kharipati, after being evacuated from Hubei province, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak, have tested negative for COVID-19.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, a total of 175 Nepalis, who were airlifted from Hubei, have shown no symptoms of COVID-19.

“Nasal and throat swabs collected from Nepalis in quarantine were examined in National Public Health Laboratory, Teku, and all of them tested negative,” said Khagaraj Baral, secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population.

A group of technicians from NPHL had visited the quarantine centre to collect the samples on Sunday. Laboratory tests were conducted on February 16, 17 and 18. The evacuees will have to undergo the second round of test after living in quarantine for 14 days.

The government had airlifted 134 males and 41 females from Wuhan, Enshi, Shiyan, Yichang, Jingmen and Jingzhou of China on Saturday. A chartered flight of Nepal Airlines had flown to Wuhan Tianhe International Airport to bring the Nepalis back home. The health ministry said all safety measures had been adopted at the quarantine centre.

Talking to journalists, Spokesperson for the health ministry Mahendra Shrestha said the evacuees had been categorised, and had not been allowed to move to other floors.

Journalists had raised question over safety measures at the quarantine centre after photos posted by the evacuees showed them sitting in groups and taking group selfies.

The government has not planned anything to evacuate the six Nepalis, who could not board the plane due to medical reasons.

According to the ministry, the Nepalis who couldn’t return home have been staying in their hostels in Hubei. “No decisions have been taken yet to bring them home,” said Shrestha.

A Saudi Arabian, who was suspected of showing symptoms of novel coronavirus infection, and later went missing from Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku, has tested negative for coronavirus.

“The person didn’t stay in the hospital, but his samples were collected and tested. His samples tested negative for COV- ID-19,” said Dr Runa Jha, director at NPHL.

According to the health ministry, some 35 samples have been tested till now. Of them only one has tested positive for coronavirus infection.