170 Nepalis stranded in Panitanki border crossing allowed to enter NepalAround 100 Indian nationals stranded on the Nepali side of the border were also allowed to go to India, said police.
The country went into a weeklong lockdown from Tuesday 6am bringing all services except essential ones into a standstill. This move has hit Nepalis, mostly migrant workers and students, who had reached various Nepal-India border points from India amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, around 1,000 Nepalis stranded at the Gaurifanta border crossing in Kailali district since Monday evening, protested against the authorities.
According to the Kailali District Administration Office, the returnees were stopped at the crossing but allowed to enter the country after coordinating with the provincial government and Home Ministry.
In Panitanki border crossing in Kakarbhitta, Jhapa, around 170 Nepalis who have returned from India on Tuesday morning were allowed to enter the country in the evening.
Earlier in the day, they were allowed to cross the checkpoint on the Indian side of the border by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), India's border security force, after checking their identity card, the Nepali authority had not allowed them to enter Nepal.
“They were allowed to enter Nepal on Tuesday evening after coordinating with the Home Ministry,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajendra Pokhrel of Area Police Office, Kakadvitta. “The health examination of all returnees was conducted and they will be sent to their respective districts where they will be kept in quarantine facilities.”
Around 100 Indian nationals stranded in the Nepali side of the border were also allowed to go to India, said police.
Though Nepal sealed its borders with China and India from Monday at 10 am for a week, around 2,000 Nepalis entered through Panitanki crossing on Monday night.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of June 3, 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 213 countries and infected more than 6,366,197 people with 377,437 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 198,370 with 5,608 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 72,460 confirmed cases with 1,543 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 2,099 cases with eight 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.