Kathmandu, May 1
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who was scheduled to return home tomorrow from her state visit to China, cut short her trip and arrived in Kathmandu from Lhasa this morning after she faced altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness is a condition that generally occurs because of sudden ascendance to a higher altitude. Lhasa is located at an altitude of over 3,600 metres from the sea level.
Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Bhandari was received by Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and ministers and senior government officials.
After attending Belt and Road Forum and holding bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Bhandari reached Lhasa of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China yesterday on the third leg of her visit to the northern neighbour. She had embarked on her China trip on April 24 at the invitation of the Chinese president.
Doctors attending Bhandari said she did not have any serious health complications and it was just altitude sickness as was the case with some other members of her delegation. “Because of high-altitude, the president suffered from headache and nausea due to lack of oxygen,” said one of the doctors.
The doctor said they decided to return home a day earlier as formal engagements had already been completed and only an observation trip was remaining. “We felt it would be difficult for the president to take part in the observation tour as she needed supplementary oxygen.”
Seven members of Bhandari’s entourage, including Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi, returned with Bhandari. Other members, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, stayed back and will return tomorrow, according to officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A version of this article appears in print on May 02, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.