Nepal | October 22, 2020

Foreigners not complying with mandatory self-quarantine measures

Govt to start tracking visitors staying in hotels from today

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, March 19

The government had made 14-day self-quarantine mandatory for all foreigners entering the country on and after March 16 to curb the possible outbreak of coronavirus in Nepal, but they have not been adhering to the rules and the government seems to be doing nothing to cross-check implementation of the provision.

Christophe Noel, a US-based investigative journalist who is in Nepal, posted a message on ‘Nepal Tourism Think Tank’ page on Facebook yesterday stating how foreigners visiting Nepal are not complying with the self-quarantine provision.

“After visiting three hotels in Kathmandu, the picture is clear. Arriving tourists are not adhering to the mandatory self-quarantine,” Noel wrote in his post.

He added, “I spoke with a group of nine Italians who arrived in Nepal yesterday (Tuesday) and will fly to Pokhara tomorrow (Thursday) to start their trek. They said none of them presented a health certificate, but were given a self-quarantine log sheet to complete.”

At another hotel, five people from France presented health certificates, but not the required swab test, and also said they would not self-quarantine, added Noel.

The Ministry of Health and Population, which is responsible for implementing the mandatory self-quarantine provision of the government, however, had said it was primarily the responsibility of citizens and foreigners to be aware and self-quarantine as required.

“The government can’t track and monitor all the people entering Nepal. People should also help the government at this time,” Bikash Devkota, spokesperson for the MoHP, had told THT a few days ago.

Though late, the Department of Tourism is expected to start tracking foreigners staying in hotels and resorts from Friday as a precautionary step to control the possible spread of coronavirus in the country.

The DoT has developed a software which is being installed across all tourist standard hotels where hotel operators are required to update the details of activities of foreigners staying in their hotels, including whether or not they are staying in self-quarantine, the purpose of their visit, their everyday activities, passport details and their next destination.

The tourism department will have direct control over the software and access to information uploaded on the software.

“Implementation of the software intends to ensure that all foreigners are complying with the self-quarantine measures. It will also help the government analyse the risk of possible spread of coronavirus in the country,” said Danduraj Ghimire, director general of the tourism department.

 


A version of this article appears in print on March 20, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


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