Nepal to airlift Nepalis in Hubei on Feb 15

Rabindra Adhikari

KATHMANDU, Feb 11: The Government of Nepal has finally decided to airlift Nepali nationals, most of them students, residing in coronavirus-hit Hubei Province on Feb 15.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers held today afternoon decided to evacuate them, said Minister of Communication and Information Technology Gokul Baskota.

The government will send a 274-seater Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) Airbus 330 to the epicenter of the outbreak Wuhan, the capital of Hubei as 180 Nepalis–who applied for evacuation at the Nepali Embassy in China earlier this month—desperately wait for the rescue.

The government has also directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Population, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and other concerned bodies to make necessary preparations in this regard.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has also directed the Nepali Embassy in China to make the necessary preparation to assemble the Nepalis, who are currently scattered in six cities in Hubei, which remains in lockdown since mid-January as China struggles to contain the deadly outbreak that has claimed more than 1,016 lives, infected 42,000 and spread to 25 countries.

According to the embassy, 50 Nepalis from Jingzhou, nine from Jingmen, 29 from Enshi, 28 from Shiyan, five from Yichang and 50 from Wuhan have submitted their application for evacuation.

The evacuees will be kept in a quarantine facility in Kharipati for 14 days.

According to the Health Ministry, 199 beds have been readied in four blocks of the Nepal Electricity Authority Training Center.