780 foreigners evacuated from Nepal, Govt intensifies lockdown

Around 780 foreign tourists, mostly from European countries, stranded in Nepal due to the coronavirus pandemic, have been evacuated in special flights, as the government intensified the lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

The foreigners were evacuated in four different chartered flights arranged by different countries and their diplomatic missions in Nepal, according to officials.

The embassies of Germany, the US, Australia, France and other countries had reached out to the Nepal government for permission to evacuate their citizens from Nepal where a nation-wide lockdown has been imposed by the government to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The government granted permission to operate chartered flights at the request of the diplomatic missions.

Two special chartered flights by Qatar Airways took off from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) carrying 605 passengers. “Of the total passengers, 159 were Germans and the rest were French, Europeans and non-European nationals,” according to an official at the Nepal Tourism Board.

Similarly, 73 foreigners were flown out of Kathmandu in a chartered Malindo Air flight that took off from TIA. The last one to fly out of Kathmandu was Czech Airlines. The aircraft flew towards Armenia with 102 passengers on board.

More than 1,700 foreigners were rescued from Pokhara, Lukla and other tourist sites over the past one week and most of them have left for their respective countries in chartered flights, officials said  All international flights to and from Nepal have -been suspended due to the nation-wide lockdown imposed till April 7.

Nepal government has tightened restrictions imposed during the lockdown period. A Cabinet meeting held on Saturday decided to stop citizens from moving from one local unit to another and from one district to another, said government spokesperson and Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada.