They should be treated with decency as they wait out the quarantine period
The detection of the Indian variant of the coronavirus within our borders should serve as a reminder to reinvigorate our efforts to close borders with not only India, but also nations which have also found itself victim to the variant and its especially contagious effects. To that effect, the decision to suspend flights from Nepal is a timely and commendable one.
In this regard, it is commendable that the government is being extra careful when it comes to quarantining returnees from India, but, at the same time, they should be treated with decency as they wait out the quarantine period.
With at least 500 returnees from India being quarantined in 11 places, including hotels and government establishments, there have been complaints of unhygienic facilities, with their needs not being catered to.
This is in addition to the fact that the mandatory 14-day quarantine period is not one which is free of cost: Returnees are having to spend somewhere between Tk2,200 and Tk2,400 every day for rent and food, and for many, to do so over the course of 14 days is simply unfeasible.
In addition, in many spaces, no measures have been taken to keep each individual returnee separate. What purpose does quarantining serve when returnees are being put in the same room? Those who do not have the virus will eventually be infected by those who do, and there will be no way of telling who the source was.
Creating such unhygienic, unorganized, and frankly inhumane conditions for the returnees merely exacerbates the problem, instead of improving conditions which ought to be the goal.
Returnees must be provided with affordable, safe, and clean accommodation (if not completely free of cost) in which they can spend the time necessary for the quarantine.