Govt begins homework to bring citizens stranded abroad

Kathmandu / May 20: The government has been doing homework to bring back the Nepali nationals stranded around the world. The High Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 has started preparing modality to bring back some of the thousands of nationals stuck abroad due to coronavirus restrictions.

A meeting of the committee headed by Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel on Tuesday started working on the guideline to evacuate the stranded Nepali nationals.

The committee has started the discussion, as per the Cabinet decision of Monday to bring Nepalis home. Nepal has imposed a ban on all incoming international flights since mid-March, leaving hundreds of thousands of Nepali nationals staying abroad for various purposes stranded.

Narayan Prasad Bidari, Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, who is also a spokesperson of the committee, said they were holding discussions to prepare the modality to bring Nepali nationals back from India and other countries.

At the meeting all ministers and committee members expressed their views, said Bidari, adding that now the committee was working on the action plan to evacuate the Nepali citizens in a proper and well-managed way.

“The government had been preparing to bring Nepali nationals gradually, avoiding virus spread in the country. Priority will be given to the most vulnerable categories, with medical emergencies, pregnant women and people who have been bereaved, among others.”

According to him, the committee has been discussing to set up isolation facilities to keep the evacuated nationals.

The committee is also working on a guideline to improve the quarantine facilities set up in state and local levels, he added.The committee has also been preparing guidelines for ensuring security and maintaining data of the quarantined people by health workers in the presence of Nepal Army, said Bidari.

Likewise, the local bodies would be responsible for the arrangements of all facilities in quarantine in the financial support of the federal government, he added. Thousands of Nepalis have registered with embassies around the world for repatriation. Many of them have lost their jobs while others are simply unable to fly back to the country because of the coronavirus restrictions.

As colleges and universities have shut across the world, thousands of Nepali young students have been left stranded. The coronavirus restrictions in various countries have left them jobless.

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