DHANGADHI, April 30: With the rapid spread of coronavirus in India, the number of Nepali migrant workers returning home in Nepal has increased.
More than 1,000 people are entering Nepal every day from the two main checkpoints in the Sudurpashchim, Gauriphanta and Gaddachauki border in Kanchanpur. COVID-19 has been detected among people entering Nepal from those border points. The risk of the spread of COVID-19 infection in the communities in Sudurpashchim Province has increased as migrant workers from the Indian cities are entering Nepal without proper health screening at the border.
When the COVID-19 infection started appearing in India last year, tens of thousands of Nepali migrant Nepali workers had returned home due to fear. After the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nepal, the government closed the international border on March 24 last year. Nepalis returning home from various cities in India stayed in the quarantine of the Indian market near the border for more than two months.
After the government authorities allowed Nepalis living in India to enter Nepal, there was a crowd of people who wanted to enter Nepal to go to their homes. Those who returned home on the pretext of dying on their own land could not find employment in the country and had difficulty in feeding their children. They left the country for employment after that. A new variant of coronavirus has appeared in India and the rapid transmission has forced Nepalis to return to Nepal.
According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Amar Bahadur Thapa stationed at Kanchanpur, 1,334 people entered Nepal through Gauriphanta and Gaddachauki checkpoints on Monday. He said that 7,056 people have entered Sudurpashchim area from India through these border crossings in the last one week. “The number of people entering the Sudurpashchim Province from India has been increasing day by day,” he said, adding that the number of people returning home has increased due to the New Year celebration in the Sudurpashchim Province and also due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 infection in India.
The Health Office in Kailali has brought the isolation center into operation from Tuesday. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Social Development Narendra Karki said the COVID-19 infected people with symptoms from India have been kept in isolation centers. He said that about 50 infected people have been kept in the isolation center set up in various parts of the Province. He said that a new variant of COVID-19 has also been detected among three Nepalis who came from India.
Shivaraj Sunar, chief of the Health Office, Kanchanpur said that it has been decided to keep those coming from Gaddachauki checkpoint of Kanchanpur in isolation wards at Mahakali Hospital. “People who have been confirmed infected but cannot go home safely will be kept in the isolation center for 10 days, while those who want to stay in home isolation will be sent home in a separate vehicle from the border,” he added.