See More on Facebook


Government to send a plane on Saturday to evacuate Nepalis stranded in Wuhan

Cabinet to finalise plan today to send in a 274-seater A330 to rescue citizens from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Written by

Updated: February 11, 2020

The government is preparing to send a Nepal Airlines plane on Saturday to evacuate Nepalis stranded in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The plan comes as Nepalis stuck in Hubei, most of them students, sought international support, alleging that Kathmandu failed to heed their repeated requests.

The government’s delay in sending a plane and wrapping up other preparations at home—setting up quarantine and isolation facilities, ensuring special ambulances to transport the evacuees and training human resources—have also been criticised.

A 274-seater Nepal Airlines Airbus A330 aircraft shall bring home at least 180 Nepalis who have registered their names at the Embassy of Nepal in Beijing seeking evacuation from Wuhan, the city where the virus originated. The deadly virus has killed more than 900 people and infected 40,000.

A senior official at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation told the Post that the Nepal Airlines Airbus with four medical doctors, three captains, six members of the cabin crew and four support staff on board will fly to Wuhan from Kathmandu at 11.15hrs on Saturday. Touch down in the Chinese city is expected at around 15.45hrs.

As the stranded Nepalis are scattered in various cities in Hubei Province, the Chinese authorities need to assemble them at the Wuhan airport—it is not clear how much time it will take for them to do that. The return flight will be around five hours long.

Although the government plans to house the evacuees at the Nepal Electricity Authority Training Centre in Kharipati, Bhaktapur, protests by local residents have forced officials to look for alternatives. The evacuees, along with crew members, doctors and supporting staff on the flight to Wuhan, need to be quarantined for two weeks.

A pressure group formed by family members of Nepalis stuck in Wuhan has been frequenting various ministries demanding their kin be evacuated at the earliest.

The Cabinet on Monday also discussed a wide range of alternatives and preparations related to the evacuation, a minister told the Post.

According to the minister, Minister for Health and Population Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal informed the Cabinet that 147 beds in 36 isolated wards are being prepared to quarantine the evacuees.

Five hospitals have been identified as “hub hospitals” while 36 others have been identified as “satellite hospitals”. Altogether 85 health professionals are being trained to oversee the evacuees.

“As some locals in Bhaktapur protested the government’s plan to convert the training centres into a quarantine facility, we are forced to look for other alternatives,” said the minister who did not want to be named as Cabinet are made public only on Thursdays. “Relevant government agencies are looking for alternatives,” the minister said.

Several countries, such as the United States, Japan, Australia, India and Bangladesh have already evacuated their citizens from Wuhan and surrounding cities, under a lockdown to contain the virus.

After Monday’s Cabinet meeting, Chief Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi held yet another “preparatory meeting” with various government agencies to finalise the location for quarantine and isolation and medical facilities and to discuss ways to provide security.

“The meeting will make some final recommendations to the Cabinet on Tuesday on the evacuation plan,” a government secretary told the Post. “A Cabinet meeting has been called for Tuesday to finalise the evacuation plan.”

Amid delay in the evacuation, the National Human Rights Commission on Sunday had directed the government to immediately evacuate Nepalis from Hubei Province.

Speaking at a function in the Capital on Monday, Dr Suman Shrestha, a student based in Wuhan, said that none of the Nepalis living in Wuhan is infected with the virus, and the government should bring them home without any hesitation.

Ramesh Bahadur Singh, a parent of a student currently in Wuhan, said he will be forced to request other countries to rescue the Nepalis stuck in Hubei if the government fails to do it.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

The Kathmandu Post
About the Author: The Kathmandu Post was Nepal’s first privately owned English broadsheet daily and is currently the country's leading English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


EDITORIAL: Mr Trump in India

US President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were able to convey a robust message to the west of the Radcliffe Line, thanks largely to their personal chemistry. The diplomatic irony has been rather exceptionally bitter. Donald Trump’s 36-hour visit to India was somewhat pushed out of focus by the communal flare-up that has overwhelmed parts of Delhi, with the death toll rising to 27 till Thursday afternoon. And yet the US President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were able to convey a robust message to the west of the Radcliffe Line, thanks largely to their personal chemistry. And unlike some previous US Presidents, Mr Trump chose not to follow up his visit to India with another to Pakistan… as often as not to sing a different piece. No, he hasn

By The Statesman
February 28, 2020


As Covid-19 spreads, public health officials consider plans for a worst-case scenario

 Department of Health Services has a Plan B for a few infections but its Plan C envisions shutting down all schools, public transport and gatherings in case of a mass outbreak. While Covid-19 coronavirus infections have significantly slowed in China, they are rapidly spreading around the globe, prompting countries to step up measures to control the spread and the UN 

By The Kathmandu Post
February 28, 2020


Vietnam reaffirms support for nuclear non-proliferation treaty

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of Vietnam’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, has reaffirmed Vietnam’s strong support for the realisation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on three pillars. During a session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the NPT, Ambassador Quy affirmed that Vietnam has joined all international efforts regarding non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, including regional and global conventions; complied with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s highest safety standards; and strictly followed the UNSC’s resolutions. He said any intentional, unintentional or miscalculated use of nuclear weapons seriously threatened global peace and

By Viet Nam News
February 28, 2020


Budget debate: Coronavirus concerns present long-term opportunities, say MPs

Many have little savings to see them though a work drought, she said, noting that a number of events and work assignments have been cancelled or deferred as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. While the coronavirus outbreak has battered businesses, it has also created opportunities to better prepare Singapore for future challenges, MPs said on Thursday (Feb 27). Speaking on Day 2 of the debate on the Budget statement, they said these include getting more firms to adopt e-commerce, diversifying supply sources and making flexible work arrangements permanent for working parents and caregivers. A total of 54 MPs, including political office holders, spoke over two days on various aspects of the Budget. USING TODAY’S CRISIS TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTU

By The Straits Times
February 28, 2020


Coronavirus: 2 new cases confirmed; 4 more, including private hospital doctor, discharged

 Two patients from the Grace Assembly of God cluster, cases 49 and 73, were also discharged.  Two new cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) were confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Feb 26) and four others have recovered and were discharged. This brings the total number of cases here to 93, of which 62 have fully recovered. Case 59, the private hospital doctor, was among the four discharged. The 61-year-old Singaporean was confirmed to have the virus on Feb 13 and had been warded at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. He is not linked to any of the five known clusters but is a non-medical contact of case 72, a 40-year-old man from China who holds a Singapore work pass. Case 56, a Banglad

By The Straits Times
February 27, 2020


Japan provides protective gear for use in battling coronavirus

 The government of Japan has given personal protective supplies to the Ministry of Health to help medical staff if they are required to care for people infected with the coronavirus. The items were handed over at the Ministry of Health on Tuesday by the Ambassador of Japan to Laos, Mr Takewaka Keizo, to Minister of Health Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong. The supplies comprised 4,680 isolation gowns, 6,100 gloves, 6,000 N95 masks, 13,200 surgical masks, 27 goggles, and 240 bottles of alcohol hand rub. Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounkong thanked the government of Japan for its assistance, saying “On behalf of Laos, we would like to express our appreciation to the government of Japan for its continuing support to our country.” The ministry has been st

By Vientiane Times
February 27, 2020