Saturday, 28 November, 2020
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Tatopani customs office functional after setting up isolation yard



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By Laxman Kafle
Kathmandu, Oct. 30: The Tatopani border point, a major customs point between Nepal and China, which had been closed since October 6 due to detection of COVID-19, has come into operation from Thursday.
According to Lal Bahadur Khatri, chief at Tatopani Dry Port and Customs Office, the customs has resumed from today as the Chinese authority has started sending containers carrying goods to the Nepali customs yard.
“A Chinese container carrying goods entered Nepal this afternoon,” he said.
An isolation area has also been established in the border area amid fear of COVID-19, he said, adding that the Chinese authority would drop the goods at the isolation yard set up by Nepal at the checkpoint.
Khatri said that Nepali workers no longer have to go to China, the Chinese will bring the containers to the Nepali yard.
Preparations have been made for the Chinese to leave the truck in the isolated place in the Nepali yard and for the Nepali workers to load the goods from there, he informed.
According to him, the number of containers arriving from China to Nepal will increase gradually based on performance of Nepali workers who are allowed to work in the isolation yard.
“Now, we have mobilised 23 workers including drivers at the isolation yard to unload goods from the Chinese containers and load them to Nepali trucks. We will increase the number of workers to in the isolation yard if Chinese authorities send more containers to Nepal,” he told The Rising Nepal.
The checkpoint was reopened on October 5 after four months, but China closed the checkpoint on the second day of operation after three Nepali workers tested positive for COVID-19.
“Now, we opened the customs with proper management not to create problem to close it again. I believe that this border will not close due to COVID-19 as both sides have agreed to operate the customs adopting the health protocol to be safe from COVID-19,” he said.
Goods are being supplied from China to Nepal maintaining zero-contact between the two parties, he said, adding that high risk of disease transmission could be averted if both Chinese and Nepali workers worked following zero-contact system.
He said that they had set up isolation areas, health desks, quarantine facilities and other health security measures at the border point to control the possible spread of coronavirus during the cross-border movement.
He said that they were also preparing to set up well-equipped COVID-19 test lab inside the port premises to test COVID-19 of workers every two weeks. 

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