Nepalis returning from Hubei to be quarantined in two NEATC buildings

Kathmandu, February 8

Two buildings of Nepal Electricity Authority Training Centre, Bhaktapur, have been vacated for quarantining Nepalis returning from Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

“A building of the environment and social study department and a hostel building have been vacated to house Nepalis coming from China,” said NEATC Deputy Director Keshav Raj Oli.

“The beds in the buildings will be replaced and partitions will be erected by tomorrow,” said Oli.

As many as 124 persons can be housed in the buildings.

The buildings were chosen as quarantine location after representatives from the Nepali Army and Ministry of Health and Population visited the place. A report was later submitted to the health ministry.

The government formally initiated the process of evacuating its citizens from China last week when the Nepali Embassy in Beijing told Nepalis living in Hubei to submit applications if they wished to return home. On Sunday, 180 students, including three children, had filed applications.

Though the buildings have been vacated to quarantine returnees, the projects run by the training centre will operate from the same premises. “There are about 50 projects running at present and at least five persons are working on each project in the training centre. Many of our staffers are afraid,” said Oli.

Doctors had said areas removed from human settlement should be used for quarantining the returnees. Locals had protested against the use of the training centre as quarantine location.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Health and Population has assigned its concerned divisions the task of bringing Nepalis back from China.

“The screening of Nepalis coming from China, managing protective gear for health workers and health security has been given to Epidemiology and Disease Control Division,” according to Sagar Dahal, chief of Health Emergency Operation Centre.

The Curative Service Division under the Department of Health Services has been assigned the role of selecting the health team to go to China. National Public Health Laboratory has been assigned laboratory tests of samples. Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital has been told to isolate and treat suspected cases, according to the health ministry.

Though the government claims that preparations are under way to evacuate Nepalis from China, it still has not been able to confirm the date. “We can’t make decisions alone. The council of ministers should decide when to bring the Nepalis,” said Dahal.

The death toll rose to 722 today in mainland China. As many as 34,546 cases have been confirmed. The virus has killed two persons outside mainland China, one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines. At least 25 countries have confirmed coronavirus cases.