Nepal | March 31, 2020

Bhaktapur locals protest against likely quarantine site

• CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Sabitri Dhakal

Kathmandu, February 5

Locals today protested in front of Nepal Electricity Authority Training Centre, Bhaktapur, and Changunarayan ward office demanding that the training centre not be used to quarantine Nepalis returning from China.

The locals also met ward office members and warned against using the building for quarantine. They carried black flags and said that evacuees should be quarantined in areas away from human settlement.

The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers yesterday considered quarantining the evacuees in NEA Training Centre, but the site has not yet been finalised.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, a team inspected the place and submitted its report to the ministry. “We are yet to finalise the site,” said Sagar Dahal, chief of Health Emergency Operation Centre, MoH.

“The building is near a human settlement. There is high risk of virus transmission. We have demanded that the government quarantine Nepali evacuees at  a safer place away from human settlement,” said Rabi Chandra Lamichhane, a resident of Changunarayan Municipality.

Health experts have been saying that evacuees from China should be quarantined at a place far from human settlement. “Even family members of those quarantined should not be allowed to meet them,” a health expert told THT.

According to the expert, those evacuated should be categorised into high-, medium- and low-risk groups and should be kept separately. “Canteen should be in a separate area. Those who serve food should be kept safe. Doctors and nurses should be present in the building round-the-clock. There should be a proper mechanism to transfer those who develop symptoms of the disease to the isolation ward in the hospital,” he added.

The government has been discussing evacuation of Nepalis from Hubei since Saturday. The disease has spread rapidly across China, claiming at least 490 lives and infecting at least 24,324 people.

At least 180 Nepalis have filed applications at the Nepali Embassy in Beijing requesting evacuation.

The Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi said Nepali government should make proper preparations before evacuating Nepalis
from Hubei.

“If the Nepali side insists on evacuating its nationals, it is advised that relevant departments in Nepal be fully prepared in terms of airport quarantine, epidemic prevention and control, and seek the advice of World Health Organisation representatives in Nepal to prevent spread of the epidemic,” she said.


A version of this article appears in print on February 06, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


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