No Nepali in South Korea has COVID-19

Kathmandu, February 22

None of the Nepalis in South Korea have contracted coronavirus.

The southern cities of Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea were declared special care zones after coronavirus cases were found in these areas. Daegu is the fourth largest city in South Korea after Seoul, Busan and Incheon. Two patients in South Korea have died. A total of 433 cases have been confirmed.

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According to the Nepali embassy, there are more than 1,000 Nepali migrant workers and about 150 Nepali students in Daegu.

According to Ram Singh Thapa, deputy chief of mission at the Nepali Embassy in Seoul, none of the Nepalis have been infected till now.

Though the Nepalis have not been infected, they are at risk. Some of them are thinking of returning home if the situation worsens.

“The government here has told people not to go out unnecessarily as there is risk of transmission. We have been instructed to frequently wash hands and maintain personal hygiene. It is risky living here. If the Nepal government decides to take us home we will return,” said Bijaya Rai, a Nepali currently running a restaurant and shop in Weagwan, an area close to Daegu, over telephone.

“The company where I work has been examining our body temperature. If it’s high we are instructed to stay at home for two weeks. There are 21 other Nepalis working in the company. Only essential items are being produced at present. Out of 200 staffers, only ten are at work. Others have been given holiday because of coronavirus. If the situation worsens, there will be no option but to return home,” said Sunil Neupane, aged 31, of Gorkha, currently working in a motor parts company in Daegu, over telephone. Also, the Nepalis in Daegu say they have been instructed not to bring their friends to their rooms.

“There are very few people in shopping malls,” said Neupane.

“The number of people eating in restaurants has decreased. Only a few people visit restaurants. The streets of Daegu are largely abandoned,” said Rai.

According to the Nepali Embassy, there are about 40,000 Nepali migrant workers, 2,500 students and about 1,000 other Nepalis working in different professions.

According to BBC, all military bases are in lockdown mode after three soldiers tested positive and about 9,000 members of a religious group were told to self-quarantine, after the sect was identified as a COVID-19 hotbed.

The Ministry of Health and Population has not yet thought about the Nepalis in South Korea. “The issue will be discussed after office resumes tomorrow. No talks have been held,” said Sagar Dahal, chief of Health Emergency Operation Centre under the health ministry.