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Nepal doesn't have enough COVID-19 test kits for Nepalis returning from India



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By Kosh Raj Koirala, Kathmandu, May 18 (CNN): At least two districts in Nepal do not have enough Covid-19 test kits to test all Nepali nationals entering the country from India, district officials told CNN.

Nepal’s Kailali district in Sudurpashchim province, which borders India, has not been able to test all Nepali nationals entering from India for coronavirus due to a lack of test kits, according to Assistant Chief District Officer Hira Lal Chaudhary.

Since India's second coronavirus wave, around 23,000 Nepalis have returned from India through Kailali. Among them, about 20,000 have been tested, said Shiva Raj Joshi, an official at the Kailali District Administration Office.

Up to 800 Nepali migrant workers enter Nepal from India each day through the Gauriphanta entry point, which lies in between the districts of Kailali and Kanchanpur.

Nepal’s Kanchanpur district is also facing an acute shortage of Covid-19 test kits. The Gaddachauki entry point, which is one of 13 border points currently opened for Nepali nationals to cross from India, is located in Kanchanpur.

“Some 700 to 800 Nepalis enter Nepal through this entry point each day. We are able to conduct tests of only about 20 per cent of those entering Nepal from India,” Chief District Officer of Kanchanpur Ram Kumar Mahato told CNN.

Nepali nationals started returning home from India after they lost their jobs as a result of the second wave and regional lockdown measures, Mahato said.