Cabinet Meeting

Govt decides to resume fifth phase of repatriation flights; makes hotel quarantine mandatory

Published On: August 21, 2020 07:46 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Those returning home through land route also must stay in quarantine for a week in hotels designated by the government in each of the 10 entry points

KATHMANDU, Aug 20: The government has decided to resume the fifth phase of repatriation flights making it mandatory for all returnee migrant workers to stay in hotel quarantine for a week and undergo PCR test before departing to their respective home.

A cabinet meeting held the official residence of Prime Minister K P in Baluwatar on Thursday evening  made the decision to resume the fifth phase of repatriation flights that was abruptly put off on Monday. The government then cited lack of necessary preparations to keep returnee migrant workers in hotel quarantine. 

According to a minister, the returnee migrant workers must book the hotel before departing home in the repatriation flights and the cost for staying in the hotel must be borne by the returnee migrant workers. The government has already published the list of hotels the migrant workers can reserve to stay for a week and undergo COVID-19 test to ensure that they are not infected with the virus before departing to their respective home.

The decision of the government to make hotel quarantine mandatory comes amid concerns that such an arrangement could possibly put many Nepali migrant workers into trouble. As most of the Nepalis expecting to return home are either laid off by their companies or asked to stay on a long unpaid leave, they are not financially stable to afford the cost to stay in hotel quarantine. Many of these returnee migrant workers also include those whose employment contracts expired and were forced to return home.

The cabinet meeting on Thursday focused mainly on dealing with the growing threat posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and containing further spread of the COVID-19 in the country. Sources said the meeting decided to conduct only three repatriation flights a day and repatriate migrant workers on the basis of the priority list prepared by the embassy.

With this cabinet decision, the government authorities concerned will schedule charter flights to different labor destinations as per the demand of Nepali migrant workers wishing to return home. 

Similarly, the government has also decided to make it mandatory for those returning home through land routes to stay in quarantine for a week in hotels designated by the government in each of the 10 designated entry points. They must stay in the hotel quarantine and undergo COVID-19 test at their own expense before leaving for home after seven days.  The cost of hotel and PCR test will be borne by the local government authorities in case those returning home through the land route are unable to afford staying in hotel quarantine and undergoing PRC test on their own. 

Cabinet sources said the government is mulling to completely ban entry of people in Kathmandu Valley for the time being as the COVID-19 situation has grown worse in recent days. Kathmandu Valley has started recording more than 200 COVID-19 cases a day. 


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