Nepal government has announced to evacuate 180 Nepalis stuck in Wuhan of Hubei province China on February 15. Wuhan is the epicentre of the deadly novel coronavirus that has killed 1,016 people on the Chinese mainland as of Tuesday. There have been widespread concerns about the health of Nepali students living there. Their parents in Kathmandu have been pressing the government to immediately rescue their wards amid the rising toll from the coronavirus that began to spread on December 31 last year. However, all Nepali students are safe and no one has contracted the virus, according to the media reports. It requires meticulous planning to arrange quarantine areas where the evacuees are put at least for two weeks. Unlike the political decision, the medical evacuation is very tough that does not permit even a slight error, which can turn upside down the entire process.
Knowing its sensitivity and details of work, the Ministry of Health and Population has intensified preparations to manage quarantine areas and isolation wards in hospitals for the treatment of possible virus-infected patients. It is working to manage the vehicles to bring them back from airport to quarantine area and sterilisation of vehicles, according to the news report carried out by this daily. Two buildings of Nepal Electricity Authority located at Kharipati of Lalitpur have been emptied to keep the evacuees. Likewise, it has arranged altogether 147 isolation wards in 36 hospitals – five hubs and 31 satellite hospitals - for the treatment of coronavirus infected people. The Ministry will deploy security forces around the quarantine area, with the proper facilities of foods, toilets, drinking water and internet service.
Major government hospitals such as Bir Hospital, Patan Hospital, Teaching Hospital, Army Hospital, Civil Hospital and Bhaktapur Hospital have been developed as hub hospitals. More than 60 doctors have been trained for safe handling of the possible virus-infected persons. Meanwhile, Nepal Airlines Corporation has almost completed internal preparations to send its wide-body aircraft to rescue students from Wuhan. The A-330 plane will take around 5 hour 30 minute flights to Wuhan for one way. It may be arranged for around two days. The government has already installed inspection and quarantine facilities at airports.
Prior to their departure for Nepal, Nepalis will first undergo medical tests in China. If they are detected with the symptoms of deadly virus, they will be treated in the Chinese hospitals. Upon their arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, the medics will check them to find their medical conditions. They will be taken to the quarantine areas if they have not developed any symptom of the disease. But they will be referred to the hospitals for the treatment in isolation in case they have caught the virus. It is high time Nepal and the China should work in close coordination for the early evacuation of Nepalis from Wuhan. We are grateful to the Chinese government for its support to protect the lives of Nepalis in Wuhan. Now it is the duty of all Nepalis to show kindness and warm support to the Nepali students who are set to return home. We must stop negative reporting about them, and the local people residing near the quarantine areas need to cooperate with the medical workers to boost the confidence of returnees.