ANMDA & NRNA (Australia) express reservations against mandatory COVID-19 tests for hopeful Nepal returnees

The Australasian Medical Dental Association (ANMDA) and the Non-Rsident Nepali Association (NRNA) Australia have expressed concerns regarding mandatory PCR/RDT tests for those aspiring to return to Nepal in its upcoming scheduled repatriation flights.

“We wish to bring to the attention of Government of Nepal that Australia uses PCR Tests. These tests are readily available, but it is not given to any person (who demands a test) – a person must be showing symptoms of virus to be tested.”, the joint Press Release reads. It also informs the Nepalese Government that “Australia has been one of the example countries in taking control of the Covid-19 virus by going into an immediate lockdown. As of today, we only have 20 cases in Hospital with many States reporting no new cases for many days. Our recommendation to the Government of Nepal is to request “good health” certificate from local “ANMDA recognised GP” and self-isolation as much as possible in Australia before the intended flight.”

The Press Release has come after the Government of Nepal mandated negative PCR test results from all stranded Nepalis who wish to return home. On 11th June, 2020, the Nepalese Embassy in Canberra had announced two repatriation flights for Nepalis in Australia and New Zealand – for 17th June, 2020 and 22nd June, 2020 respectively.

On 2nd June, 2020, Embassy of Nepal, Canberra called for Nepalis who needed to return home urgently. Almost 1,300 filled the form.

For those who wish to return home, the following provisions and rules have been announced:

  1. Any citizen entering Nepal must undergo a 14 day quarantine period as allocated by the local level government. Following a swab sample test, the citizen must also undergo a cumpulsory 7 day home quarantine.
  2. Costs associated with air fare, hotel quarantine, airport quarantine and other travel related expenses must be borne by the traveller.
  3. Citizens wishing to return home must present a PCR report as proof that they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19. One copy is to be presented at the Embassy, and another must be kept with the person at all times.
  4. All travellers will undergo a temperature check at TIA, Kathmandu – passengers with temperature higher than 100.4 degree Fahrenheit will be taken to the isolation ward while others will be taken to a holding centre.
  5. All travellers will have to download the MoHP ‘Hamro Swasthya’ app, and must register symptoms with the app regularly.
  6. Passengers will be cleared to transfer to their district quarantine section after completing all formalities in the holding centre at Kathmandu.
  7. All passengers must abide by rules and regulations concerning public health and safety.