India evacuates Nepali from stricken ship

Kathmandu, February 27

The Indian government today evacuated 119 Indian and five foreign nationals, including a Nepali woman, who were on board the Diamond Princess Cruise ship docked off Yokohama, Japan.

The Japanese government had put the ship, carrying 3,711 passengers, under quarantine on February 5 after one of the passengers who had disembarked from the ship tested positive for coronavirus infection.

The Himalayan Times has the name and other details of the evacuated Nepali national, but it chose not to publish them to protect the woman’s privacy.

Deputy Chief of Mission at the Nepali embassy in Tokyo Krishna Chandra Aryal said the Nepali national voluntarily decided to go to India, informing the embassy in writing. “She told us that it would be easier for her to travel to Nepal from India after quarantine,” Aryal told THT over phone from Tokyo.

Aryal added that she was the only Nepali national on board the ship. More than one lakh Nepalis living in Japan are safe, said Aryal. “We have urged all Nepalis in Japan to exercise caution and are closely monitoring the situation,” said Aryal.

According to a statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs, all the evacuees, who reached New Delhi from Tokyo this morning on a special Air India flight, will undergo a 14-day quarantine at the quarantine facility set up by the Indian Army in Manesar, Haryana.

According to Indian media reports, the evacuees will be monitored by a qualified team of doctors and staff members. If any individual is suspected to be infected, they will be shifted to the isolation ward at Base Hospital Delhi Cantonment in New Delhi.

After 14 days, persons with no symptoms will be allowed to go home with their detailed documentation sent to the district/state surveillance units for further surveillance. Those found infected will be discharged only after clinical recovery and two successive negative samples tested for n-COV, the Indian media reports say.

Meanwhile, the Nepali embassy in Bahrain said all Nepalis living in the Gulf country were safe. There are more than 30,000 Nepali migrant workers in Bahrain.

Yesterday, Bahrain reported seven new cases of coronavirus, raising the number of infected to 33, according to Khaleej Times.

Nepal’s Ambassador to Bahrain Padam Sundas said none of the Nepalis in Baharain had so far expressed willingness to return, except those returning as per their pre-planned schedule.

“We held talks with the labour ministry here and requested them to distribute masks to Nepali migrant workers. We have also urged social organisations to stay in touch for immediate response during any emergency,” Sundas told THT over phone from Bahrain. “We are closely monitoring the situation,” he added.