NAC acts against staff for letting COVID patient fly
KATHMANDU, JANUARY 5
The Nepal Airlines Corporation has taken action against three high-ranking employees deployed at its Malaysia office for flouting the COVID-19 prevention measures.
According to the national flag carrier, the posting committee of NAC has decided to bring back the staffers deployed at Malaysia office immediately for allowing a passenger who had tested positive for the coronavirus to travel from Malaysia to Nepal. The passenger was allowed to board NAC’s December 30 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu even though the polymerase chain reaction test report of the person was positive.
“That was a blunder on the part of the staffers. The company has decided to recall for two years the guilty staffers from the Malaysia airport,” said an NAC source seeking anonymity.
According to the source, NAC has recalled Country Manager Naresh Kumar Shrestha, Station Manager Yuvraj Acharya, and Finance Chief Indra Thapa for the grave mistake.
NAC had earlier sought clarification from them. The posting committee decided to bring them back as it was not satisfied with their explanation, said the source.
“We could have considered some leniency if the passenger had carried a fake PCR report or become infected during travel due to other reasons. But, to allow a passenger carrying a positive PCR report to travel is sheer negligence and serious dereliction of duty,” said the source, adding, “The corporation cannot afford to take such risks during this critical situation.”
According to Nepal government rules, the PCR report of a passenger coming to Nepal should be negative. However, if any airline transports a passenger with positive PCR report, the airline will have to bear the cost of hotel quarantine and isolation until the infected person tests negative for COVID.
The corporation has decided that the three ‘negligent’ staffers will be made to bear all the hotel quarantine and isolation expenses of all the passengers of the Malaysia flight.
As many as 54 passengers who had come in contact with the infected individual have been kept in hotel quarantine.
NAC narrow-body aircraft from Malaysia had flown 145 passengers that day, of whom 91 have been sent home.
Earlier, in a major embarrassment for the national flag carrier, Hong Kong had imposed a 14-day ban on NAC flights for the fourth time on December 4.