Two weeks on, 181 people quarantined in Jamunaha still waiting to get homeNepalis, including migrant workers from 26 districts arrived at the border crossing from various parts of India.
Sixteen days after they were quarantined near the Jumunaha border crossing, 181 people trying to get home from various part of India are yet to be allowed to enter into Nepal
The 181 individuals’ hopes of returning home were high on Thursday as all of them tested negative for coronavirus when tested with the rapid kit. But the officials from the District Administration Office, who had told them they could come to Nepal after spending 14 days in quarantine, did not allow them to leave.
After six buses came to the quarantine to pick up the people, everybody boarded the bus and waited for five hours, before they were sent back to the camps. “after five hours, we were asked to get off the bus since the Ministry of Home Affairs had directed the local government to not allow us to leave,” said Jhalak Thapa, a local of Thakurbaba Municipality in Bardiya.
“There was no coordination between the local government, the District Administration Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs. We don’t know why they called the buses here if we were not to be allowed to leave.”
Thapa, who is returning home from Uttar Pradesh, said, “We have already spent more than two weeks at the facility, but we are still not being allowed to go home.”
Sandip KC, a local of Rukum (West), said his family members were worried about him. “They ask me when I will get home, but I don’t know that myself,” he said.
KC and those with him in the quarantine worry that even after spending more than 16 days in quarantine, they may have to stay in another quarantine in their own village. “We are staying in quarantine here. We cannot stay in quarantine again at our village,” said Amrit Kunwar, a local of Salyan. “This entire situation is depressing.”
On Saturday, the people in quarantine sent a memorandum to the chief district officer listing their problems. They had demanded that the district administration coordinate with local units and send them home by providing them transportation allowances. “The transport fare for Rukum from Nepalgunj is just Rs 500. But, we were asked to pay more than Rs 2,500,” said Kunwar.
Kumar Bahadur Khadka, chief district officer of Banke, said officials are unable to send the quarantined home as his office is still waiting for further directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs. “We are coordinating with the ministry to send home those in the quarantine. But, the ministry has not made a decision yet,” said Khadka.
Meanwhile, Uma Thapa Magar, deputy mayor of Nepalgunj Sub Metropolis, said her office will arrange food and shelter for the stranded workers even if they have to stay in the quarantine for a longer period.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of May 27, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 had spread to 210 countries and infected more than 5,684,795 people with 352,225 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 150,793 with 4,344 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 57,705 confirmed cases with 1,197 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 772 cases with four deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.