Migrant workers start returning home as India reports rise in Covid-19 casesAs many as 34 returnees entering Nepal from Gauriphanta border point tested positive for Covid-19 in the past five days.
The flow of Nepali people returning home through Gauriphanta border point in Kailali district has significantly increased amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in India.
The health desk set up at the border point is back in operation and health workers deployed at the health desk say they are overwhelmed by the number of people crossing into Nepal every day.
“The situation at the border point is similar to how it was last year around the same time,” said Amit BK, a health worker deployed in Gauriphanta health desk.
As many as 34 returnees entering through Gauriphanta have tested positive for the virus in the past five days. According to the District Health Office, 10 returnees tested positive for the virus on Saturday alone. “Number of positive cases is increasing by the day,” said Lal Bahadur Dhami, chief at the District Health Office
The infected returnees have been asked to stay in home quarantine.
Superintendent of Armed Police Force Dipendra Kunwar said the number of people entering Nepal through Gauriphanta border point has doubled in recent days.
“Until a week ago, around 400 to 500 people entered Nepal through Gauriphanta on a daily basis. In the last week, the number has doubled to 1,000 people per day,” said Kunwar.
Thousands of migrant workers from several districts of Sudurpaschim Province have started returning home from New Delhi, Mumbai, Gujarat and Chennai, among other Indian cities, fearing another outbreak of coronavirus.
Dil Bahadur Rokaya, a resident of Bajhang who arrived at Gauriphanta from Gujarat on Wednesday, said that he decided to return home, as there was fear of yet another outbreak in his place of work.
“I returned from Gujarat since the number of Covid-19 cases is increasing there. Many other villagers are also preparing to return home,” said Rokaya. “We don’t want to get caught in the middle of yet another outbreak in a foreign country.”
Health authorities said that preparations are underway to manage isolation wards and quarantine facilities for returnees.
“We have instructed all the health units to stay on high alert. Efforts are on to manage isolation wards and quarantine facilities,” said Dr Gunaraj Awasthi, chief at the provincial health directorate.
“There are a total of 2,106 quarantine beds in 71 different places of Sudurpaschim Province,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kailali District Administration Office on Wednesday issued a nine-point directive to contain a possible outbreak of Covid-19. The district administration imposed a ban on assembling in huge numbers and organising feasts, festivals, rallies and fairs, among others.
“Strong action will be taken in case one is found violating the directives,” said Chief District Officer Khagendra Prasad Rijal.
According to the data available at the Provincial Health Directorate, there are 166 active cases of Covid-19 in Sudurpaschim Province. A total of 14,087 people have tested positive for the virus in the province so far with 56 deaths.