February 16, 2020 / 4:38 AM / 2 months ago

Nepal evacuates 175 citizens, mostly students, from Wuhan after coronavirus outbreak

Nepalese nationals who were in the coronavirus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan walk out from a Nepal Airlines Airbus A330-200 plane carrying 175 Nepalese nationals, before they were sent to be quarantine, at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal February 16, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal on Sunday evacuated 175 of its nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak, an official said, after protests by parents of students studying in the city.

A plane operated by state-owned Nepal Airlines carrying 134 men and 41 women, mostly students, landed at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport before dawn, Health Ministry spokesman Mahendra Shrestha said.

All evacuees will be held in quarantine for two weeks in the nearby town of Bhaktapur.

“They will be under the close observation of doctors in quarantine and will be allowed to join their families if found healthy after two weeks,” Shrestha told Reuters.

Last week parents protested in front of the Health Ministry demanding that Nepali students in Wuhan be brought home sooner. The government said delays were due to the time needed to prepare buildings to keep the returnees in quarantine.

Nepal has only one confirmed case of coronavirus so far.

Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Richard Pullin

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