Nepal evacuates 175 citizens from China's COVID-19 epicentre

Kathmandu, Feb 16 : Nepal on Sunday evacuated 175 of its citizens, mostly students, from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of deadly coronavirus (COVID-19 ) outbreak.

An Airbus A330 plane carrying 134 men and 41 women landed at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport in the afternoon, Captain Deepu Jwarchan, a director of Nepal Airlines, told EFE.

Among them, 170 were students. All evacuees will be quarantined and monitored for any coronavirus symptoms for at least two weeks.

According to Jwarchan, the plane carrying with two captains, eight flight attendants, four medical representatives, an engineer, and other technical personnel was flown to China on Saturday afternoon.

The cabin of the plane, grounded for at least 48 hours, will undergo a deep cleansing and disinfection process, he said.

Sagar Dahal, a spokesperson for the health ministry, told EFE that the cockpit crew would only be allowed to return to duty after spending at least a week in isolation, provided that they do not develop any symptoms.

The cabin crew, however, will have to remain in quarantine for at least two weeks.

"All evacuees were taken straight by bus to isolation wards set up in Kharipati, Bhaktapur after health tests at the airport. They will be constantly monitored by doctors," he said.

The students were joyous to return home from the coronavirus-affected province that has accounted for the most fatalities due to the disease that has gripped parts of China.

Saurav Luitel, one of the evacuees, wrote in Twitter that "feelings of coming back home in such adverse conditions are beyond description".

"Thank you all concerned authorities. The joy of being able to return home in such a dreadful situation cannot be explained."

In a video posted on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, the students are seen clapping and cheering inside the plane on their arrival in Nepal.

A week ago, parents of the students stranded in different cities of China had protested in front of the health ministry, demanding the government to rescue their children immediately.

Nepal has only one confirmed case of coronavirus so far.

(IANS)

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Nepal evacuates 175 citizens from China's COVID-19 epicentre