Nepal, India discuss on safety of citizens stuck across borders amid COVID-19

Nepal, India discuss on safety of citizens stuck across borders amid COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has had some paramount repercussions across the world beyond just the transmission of the disease. The pandemic is pushing the global economy into major collapse which the IMF is anticipating as a deeper fallout since the Great Depression. Amid the health and economic crisis, Nepal and India have joined hands to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and protect their citizens.

Taking cognisance of the ongoing crisis, Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli and Indian PM Narendra Modi held a telephonic conversation recently and apprised each other about the prevailing situation. Oli took to Twitter and stated that both Nepal and India have agreed on ensuring protection and medical care of each other’s citizens who got stuck across the border in the aftermath of the lockdown.

Further, during the telephonic conversation, Nepal PM Oli exchanged his views with the Indian Prime Minister on the COVID-19 crisis and the steps taken by the country to combat the pandemic. He also extended his thanks to PM Modi for India’s bilateral support to Nepal and appreciated India’s initiative in coordinating the response to the health crisis among SAARC countries.

The two Prime Ministers also agreed on facilitating cross-border supplies of essential commodities. On April 10, India approved the supply of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and other medicines to Nepal among other countries.

Simultaneous lockdown imposed by both Nepal and India has left several Nepalis stranded in India and Indians stranded in Nepal. The stranded population in the two neighbouring countries predominantly consists of migrant workers who cross borders in search of better livelihood. Scores of Nepali migrant workers are stuck at the Indo-Nepal border in Uttarakhand, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh after the Himalayan nation closed its borders. As per reports, the Nepal government had agreed to open the borders for the movement of migrant workers.

However, the administration extended the lockdown till April 15, leaving the fate of the stranded migrant workers in uncertainty. Meanwhile, security has been tightened along the India-Nepal border in Bihar in order to prevent people from crossing the countries. Nepal reported nice COVID-19 positive cases since the outbreak out of whom one infected patient recovered from the disease. As per recent report, the eight COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment in three hospitals across Nepal and their condition is stable.

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