The Nepal government has decided to resume regular international flights from September 1 to bring back its stranded nationals from countries where the RT-PCR tests are easily available, a senior official said on Saturday. Under the decision, which was taken during a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, the Nepal government is considering bringing in 500 Nepalese nationals back home per day.
The move comes six month after the Nepal government had suspended its international air services to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has so far infected over 31,000 people in the country. "The Nepal government has decided to resume regular international flights starting from September 1 with a view to bringing home stranded Nepalese nationals in various countries around the world," Yuvaraj Khatiwada, the Minister for Communication and Information Technology and also the government's spokesperson, said.
He said the international flights would be to the countries where RT-PCR test facility is easily accessible. Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test is a testing method to identify people afflicted with COVID-19.
The schedules for the flights will be prepared by the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, he said. Khathiwada said those desirous to fly back home must produce a RT-PCR test report conducted within 72 hours.
According to the directions issued by the government, all Nepali nationals returning home from international flights must stay in hotel quarantine in Kathmandu for seven days as soon as they arrive "Those returning home through the open border points with India are also required to find a hotel nearby the border point for the week-long quarantine," Khatiwada said citing the Cabinet decision. While the Nepal government has allowed the international flights, it has still suspended the domestic flight services as there are prohibitory orders in Kathmandu Valley and dozens of other districts, The Kathmandu Post reported.
Meanwhile, Nepal on Saturday reported 634 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total number of cases to 31,117. The total number of deaths due to coronavirus stands at 146, the health ministry said.