First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: While thousands of Nepalis stranded abroad, especially migrant workers, awaits to return home amid coronavirus pandemic spreading rapidly all over the world, the government has suspended all its repatriation flights for an indefinite period. The Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC), on Sunday, wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to suspend all pre-scheduled repatriation flights to different countries. It means that the 5th phase of repatriation flights, which had begun from August 16, has been suspended until further notice, as per officials of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). In the letter to CAAN, CCMC stated that it was necessary to suspend repatriation flights as coronavirus cases is increasing in recent days in the country and that different local level governments have issued prohibitory orders. Till date, the government has conducted four phases of repatriation flights through which a total of 51,441 Nepalis have been evacuated from 30 countries. So far, the highest number of Nepalis has returned from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As per the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre, a total of 14,314 Nepali workers have been evacuated from the UAE. Similarly, 7,817 passengers have been brought home from Saudi Arabia while 7,642 passengers have been repatriated from Malaysia. Meanwhile, 6,329 people from Kuwait and 6,191 from Qatar have also been brought back till date. Most of the Nepalis have been paying for the airfare for chartered flights. Meanwhile, the government has been bearing the cost of the airfare for those workers who cannot afford to fly back. However, CCMC has claimed that most of the workers have paid for their tickets and the number of workers who were not able to afford ticketsis very low. Meanwhile, the fifth phase of repatriation will start from today (Monday). However, only three flights a day will be operated each day and only 500 passengers will be brought home in a single day during the fifth phase of repatriation.
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