Nepal | July 08, 2020

194 stranded Nepalis arrive home from UAE, Myanmar

SUJAN DHUNGANA
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KATHMANDU, JUNE 5

As many as 194 Nepalis from the United Arab Emirates and Myanmar arrived home today on flights operated by the governments of the respective countries.

While a Myanmar Air Force aircraft carrying 26 Nepalis landed at Tribhuvan International Airport at 11:00am, another aircraft of Air Arabia with 168 Nepalis from the UAE arrived here at around 5:30pm, according to a source at TIA.

“Though there were two scheduled flights of Air Force from Myanmar to Nepal today, one flight got cancelled due to technical reasons,” said Rajkumar Chhetri, spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

All 168 Nepali passengers, who arrived from the UAE were not on the government’s priority list. However, Nepali nationals on the priority list, who had arrived at Sharjah Airport to board the Nepal-bound flight, were told to wait at the airport.

Sources confirmed they could not board the flight due to airfare issue.

The returnees from Myanmar had been working as security guards at several offices in the country. While a few returnees had paid the airfare on their own, the return journey of majority of the returnees was sponsored by their employers.

Even as the contract of a majority of the returnees from Myanmar had expired earlier, they were unable to return as all incoming flights to Nepal have been suspended to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

According to sources at COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre, 26 Nepalis who arrived from Myanmar have been kept at holding centre in Basundhara and are likely to be sent to home quarantine tomorrow as they had brought along a polymerase chain reaction report that shows they are not infected with the coronavirus.

However, none of the returnees from UAE possess COVID-negative report.

CCMC sources said 168 returnees from the UAE had been categorised based on their provinces and would be kept in different holding centres across Kathmandu.

“After completing the due health processes, including COVID-19 test, they will be sent to isolation wards, quarantine facilities or home quarantine depending on their reports,” said a CCMC source.

The government plans to start evacuating Nepalis stranded abroad from June 10.

It has unveiled its plan to evacuate 40,000 stranded Nepalis from abroad in the first phase, pressing into service eight aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation and Himalaya Airlines in the rescue operation.

The evacuation process will be carried out with top priority to those who have been granted amnesty, whose visas have expired, who have been staying at repatriation centres, who have already received permission to return home, who have lost their jobs and those who have lost relatives in Nepal.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 6, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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