Mandatory PCR test in Nepal for returnees to go home

  • July 20, 2020

The government has decided to allow people arriving from abroad via air as well as land routes to go home only after undergoing PCR test.

Those arriving in Nepal via flights have to stay at holding centers for five days until their PCR test results arrive. The government’s move comes after receiving numerous complaints that influential people arriving from abroad via repatriation flights were being allowed to go home directly from the airport, without even being taken to the holding centers.

The decision made at the high-level committee meeting of the Ministry of Health and Population on Sunday also involves conducting mandatory PCR test among those arriving in Nepal through land routes.

According to chief expert of the Ministry of Health, Dr Roshan Pokharel, it has been decided to conduct PCR test on health workers and emergency service workers who have come in contact with the COVID-19 infected persons.

Although experts have repeatedly highlighted the need of PCR test, especially among those coming back from abroad, the government took its time to finally announce such a move. “The Ministry of Health took a long time to decide conducting PCR tests on all those coming from abroad,” said public health expert, Rajendra BC adding, “Before this, even those arriving from coronavirus hotspots such as USA and UK were allowed to go straight home without any tests.”

Of the 423 people who flew to Nepal from the United States, only 5 percent (21 people) stayed in hotel quarantine whereas others stayed in home quarantine.

Similarly, out of 229 people who arrived from the UK, 67 went to their respective provinces while the rest stayed in home quarantine in Kathmandu.

According to BC, 30,940 Nepalis from 25 countries have entered the country through 199 flights till Saturday. Of these, 25 percent stayed in Kathmandu and 75 percent went out of the valley.

Only 3.6 percent of those who came from abroad went to the hotel quarantine, while the rest stayed in home quarantine.