KATHMANDU, Feb 8: The government has said that it will start evacuating Nepali nationals from Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak of coronavirus—in China only after developing necessary quarantine facilities in Nepal.
During a meeting with the parents of several students currently living in Wuhan city in Singha Durbar on Friday, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali assured that the government would evacuate Nepali nationals at the earliest possible date. “We can evacuate them only after we make necessary preparations for quarantining them in Nepal,” said Minister Gyawali.
Concerned over the delay in evacuating the stranded Nepali students, a group of parents had knocked the doors of different government ministries to evacuate their children at the earliest possible date. The parents, who earlier staged protests in front of the Ministry of Health, held separate meetings with Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and Foreign Minister Gyawali on Friday.
The government is currently working to set up quarantine spots at Shivapuri, Ichangunarayan, Surya Binayak and Kharipati in the Kathmandu Valley. “We can understand the feeling of parents whose children are currently in China. But we will be in position to evacuate them only after we complete all necessary preparations to keep them safe here,” Minister Gyawali said.
Over 180 Nepali students living in Wuhan—the epicenter of the outbreak of coronavirus—have expressed desire to return home. Government officials said it may take at least seven days to set up facilities to keep them in isolation and provide them necessary treatment after evacuation.
Those evacuated need to be kept in isolation for 14 days even if they do not show any symptoms of coronavirus infection. Experts have advised taking precautions stating that coronavirus infection could be asymptomatic in some cases.
Worried parents had asked the government to set deadline for evacuating their wards from China. However, Foreign Minister Gyawali said they are not in position to set the deadline as the government authorities are currently working to set up quarantine facilities.
Earlier on Tuesday, Chinese envoy Hou Yanqi had asked authorities in Nepal to make all necessary preparations before evacuating Nepalis from Wuhan.
Nepal donates 100,000 masks to China
The government of Nepal donated 100,000 units of protective masks to the Government of the People’s Republic of China as a gesture of friendship to the Chinese people and the Government and solidarity with China’s fight against Novel Coronavirus, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali and Minister for Health and Population Bhanubhakta Dhakal on Friday handed over the masks to Chinese envoy Hou Yanqi.