Around 400 Nepalis stranded at Sunauli border point stage a sit-inThe Nepalis reached Sunauli border point from various parts of India three days ago and are waiting to be allowed in.
On Monday, around 400 Nepalis including migrant workers, waiting to be allowed in through the Sunauli border point for the last three days, started a sit-in in the no-man’s-land area.
The stranded are seeking entry into Nepal and are asking the government to keep them in a quarantine facility.
Sunil Khanal, a local of Malarani in Arghakhanchi, who was at the sit-in reached Sunauli on Friday from Ghaziabad in India. “Yesterday the security personnel started baton charging us and forced us back towards the Indian side of the border,” he said. “But the Indian security force also stopped us from going back to India. We had no choice but to stage this sit-in in the no-man’s land for our message to reach the authorities.”
According to Khanal, they have collected the names and addresses of the 400 stranded following the request of the District Administration Office in Rupandehi.
According to the Area Police Office in Belhiya, a scuffle had broken out between the protestors and the security personnel deployed at the border point on Monday night when the former had tried to force their way across the border point.
Janak Thapa, the information officer and also the administrative officer of the District Administration Office in Rupandehi, said the federal and provincial governments have not taken a decision yet as to the fate of the ones stranded at the Sunauli border. “We are trying to find a solution but have to await order from the higher authorities.”
Some locals of Belhiya and Sunauli and various social organisations in Bhairawaha are providing food and water to the stranded for the past three days.
On Monday, a Cabinet meeting of Province 5 government passed a decision to rescue the stranded Nepalis across various border points in the province and facilitate their travel to their home districts. The meeting also decided to keep them in quarantine facilities in their respective districts. The decision, however, is yet to be implemented.
Three days ago, a high-level committee for the prevention and control of Covid-19 led by Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel had decided to rescue all stranded Nepalis at various border points of the country. But three days since, Nepalis across various border points in the country are waiting to be let in.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of May 26, 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 5,589,712 people with 347,903 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 144,950 with 4,172 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.