By Ram Khatry, 4 February 2020
Nepal becomes the latest nation to airlift its citizens from Wuhan, the ground zero of novel coronavirus epidemic in China’s Hubei province.
Australia, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and India are some other countries to have organised airlift of their citizens from the epicentre of the latest “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”.
According to the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Nepal in Beijing, nearly two hundred Nepalese citizens from Wuhan as well as rest of the Hubei province will soon be flown back home.
“The Embassy is planning to organizing an airlift of 180 Nepali students from across Hubei Province of China – Wuhan, Shiyan, Jingzhou, Enshi and Yichang,” Sushil Kumar Lamsal told southasia.com.au on Tuesday.
The details of the flight are currently being worked on and will become available on the mission’s website as soon as the planning was completed, Mr Lamsal indicated.
As of Tuesday morning, Australia’s Department of Health announced, there have been 17,391 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV (novel coronavirus) infection internationally since the first case was identified in Wuhan late last year. So far, 362 people have lost their lives due to the outbreak at the fatality rate of 2.08 percent.
In response to the global emergency, the Australian government has sprung into action to protect the greater Australian community.
“The National Security Committee agreed to give the Australian Border Force Commissioner discretionary powers to make decisions in relation to the arrival in Australia of persons who were in transit when the announcement was made,” The ABF said today in a press statement.
The agency also confirmed today that it has cancelled a number of visas upon arrival in Australia as they were assessed to be ineligible to enter Australia under Australia’s enhanced border control measures.
“The Australian Border Force Commissioner has used his discretionary powers to provide border clearance to a number of individuals to allow them to enter Australia. For most people, this occurred at the airport. Others were placed in an alternative place of detention – serviced apartments – while their case was assessed,” ABF further added.
As a result of the Australian federal government’s announcement on 1 February, passengers will not be allowed enter Australia for 14 days from the time they depart or transited via mainland China.
Any passenger that arrives in Australia and is subsequently found to have been in mainland China from 1 February, will have their visa cancelled, the Department of Home Affairs has warned. They will then be placed in an “alternative place of detention for a quarantine period”.