Nepal | July 09, 2020

Nepal government lets in stranded Nepalis within days of sealing border

Roshan S Nepal
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Govt to request friendly countries not to create a situation whereby Nepalis living there have to return to Nepal

Kathmandu, March 24

The government today decided to allow Nepalis stranded at southern border points to enter Nepal ‘one last time’ today.

The decision comes after hordes of Nepalis returning home from India were stranded at border points, resulting in a situation of confrontation with security forces at some places.

As per the decision of the high-level coordination committee for the prevention and control of novel coronavirus, Nepali citizens have to compulsorily stay in a 14-day quarantine to be arranged by provincial governments in coordination with local governments.

“They also have to produce their identity cards to enter Nepal,” said the Minister of Finance, Communications and Information Yubaraj Khatiwada, who is also the spokesperson for the government. “The government does not intend to unnecessarily bother citizens. These measures are for their own safety. I hope people will cooperate.”

Amid shortage of medicines and medical equipment in the market, the government has decided to assign the private sector to import the same. The government will collaborate with those who can import the equipment and medicines within a particular time frame.

Khatiwada said the ministries of finance and foreign affairs were coordinating with India and China for procurement of medical equipment and testing kits.

“Since government-sector procurement takes some time, we will request the private sector to procure the equipment if they can do it faster and in a transparent manner. The Nepal government will ensure there’s no problem of transportation, both air and surface,” said Khatiwada.

The government has also decided to immediately start COVID-19 testing in laboratories of BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Pokhara Institute of Health Sciences, Pokhara, and Bheri Zonal Hospital, Nepalgunj. The Ministry of Health and Population will make necessary arrangements for training staff to use the equipment.

The government has also decided to make necessary diplomatic efforts and request friendly countries to ensure security of Nepalis living there and not create a situation whereby Nepalis have to return.

The government has urged Nepalis living anywhere in the world not to panic and stay put where they are. All Nepali missions abroad have also been asked to keep in touch with Nepalis and continue the flow of necessary information on decisions taken by the Nepal government.

As for the restriction on vehicles, the government has decided to allow journalists having press passes and health professionals carrying individual identity cards to move around in their vehicles.

The committee also decided to set up relief fund. Since the government itself has set up a fund putting in a seed money of Rs 500 million, the meeting concluded that it would be better for all other organisations and individuals to contribute money to that fund. “If an organisation has already set up such a fund, all the collected amount so far should be deposited in the central fund,” said Khatiwada.

A version of this article appears in print on March 25, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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