A large number of people from Sudurpaschim Province have started returning home abandoning jobs in India following a surge in coronavirus cases there in the recent weeks.

The people from the province, who had gone to India for jobs, have started returning home after the second wave of coronavirus outbreak in India and also to mark Bishu festival back home.

Sudurpaschim Province Health Service Directorate, Dipayal, said 11 new coronavirus cases had been found among India-returnees within a period of five days.

In view of the possibility of the spread of the virus infection in the villages and towns again, the local administrations in the districts of the province have imposed regulations requiring the India-returnees to compulsorily stay in quarantine as they have started entering the villages and towns without health screening.

Meanwhile, all the local units in the province have made preparations to set up quarantine facilities after the Ministry of Home's written communication directing the local bodies to keep the quarantines in ready condition, said Durga Datta Ojha, president of the Federation of Rural Municipality Chairpersons and the chair of Jorayal Rural Municipality.

The district administration has also urged the local units to make all preparations and adopt precautionary measures contain the possible COVID-19 spread.

Province Police Office, Dipayal, stated that long queues of people returning home from India can be seen at entry points - Gaddachauki and Trinagar of Kanchanpur district, Dharchula of Darchula district and Jhulaghat of Baitadi.

Hundreds of people of Sudurpaschim Province are entering the country on a daily basis from these transit points for the last few days.

Provincial Health Director Dr Gunaraj Awasthi said all preparations had been made for adopting precaution in view of the increased risk of the spread of coronavirus infection in the province with the large number of people returning home from India.

"The number of people returning home from India has increased. We have adopted all necessary health protocols and have also made arrangements for health check-up to reduce the risk," he said.

Spokesperson for Sudurpaschim Province Police Office, Dipayal, Senior Superintendent Mukesh Kumar Singh said that around 1,000 Nepali enter the country via Trinagar and Gaddachauki border points every day.

According to Province Police Office, Dipayal, at least 8,000 Nepali have entered Nepal via these two border points in the last 10 days.

Sudurpaschim Province Health Directorate, Dipayal, shared that it has sent a circular to district health offices of four districts sharing borders with India in order to carry out antigen tests of suspected persons returned from India.

The district health offices have been urged to make necessary arrangements for antigen test at the health desks established in Gaddachauki and Trinagar, of Kanchanpur, Jhulaghat of Baitadi and Darchula, according to Province Health Directorate, Dipayal, Rajpur.

Dirgha Bahadur Kami of Doti, who returned from India, said that health check-up of all the India-returnees had not been conducted at border check points.

He opined, "Health desk has been established at border points. But health check-up is not conducted there. They send returnees home only after measuring temperature. No tests related to coronavirus are carried out at the health desk.' Chief of Health Division of Social Development Ministry of Sudurpaschim Province Narendra Singh Karki said that antigen has been sent to the concerned local levels for the same.

He added that antigen had been sent in order to carry out tests by the concerned local levels as it has become difficult to carry out tests on everyone at the border. "Antigen test of the India-returnees will be done by the concerned local level," he informed.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 27, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.