Nepal allows evacuation flights for foreigners stranded amid Covid surge

Kathmandu, May 13 (EFE).- Nepal on Thursday authorized special flights to repatriate over 7,000 foreigners stranded in the country due to a flight ban imposed by authorities until May 31 to check a fresh wave of Covid-19.

“We have allowed a few evacuation flights on the requests made by the foreign embassies in Nepal,” Rajan Pokhrel, the director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, told EFE. .

He said the flights will start operating from Friday, when Nepal’s private Shree Airlines is set to carry Thai citizens to Bangkok and bring Covid aid on the way back.

“We will return with 24 pieces of oxygen concentrator machines gifted by the Thai government,” the airline’s corporate manager, Anil Manandhar, confirmed to EFE.

Authorities have also approved multiple repatriation flights to the United States and Russia according to Pokhrel.

Moreover, around 2,000 Indian citizens stranded in Nepal while in transit to Saudi Arabia will be evacuated through weekly flights.

According to officials of the Nepal Tourism Board, other embassies have also got in touch with authorities to arrange evacuation flights for thousands of tourists.

Nepal has witnessed a rapid surge in coronavirus cases in recent months, forcing the authorities to impose restrictions and initially suspend international flights between May 7 and 14. Earlier this week the ban was extended to the end of this month.

On Thursday, the Himalayan nation registered 8,842 cases of Covid-19, taking the total number of infections to 431,191, according to health ministry data.

The surge in the pandemic and travel restrictions come after a spring climbing season when a record 408 people were given permits to scale Mt Everest, up from the 381 permits issued in 2019. EFE


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