Kathmandu, May 2
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a total of six Nepali migrant workers employed in the United Arab Emirates have lost their lives and another 305 labourers in the Gulf Cooperation Council nations and Malaysia have been infected by the virus.
Kumar Dahal, director general of the Department of Foreign Employment, informed that the Dubai-based local hospital and police station had made available the health reports of deceased workers to their relatives. All the six deceased migrants had been working in the UAE for the last two to 10 years.
In the initial phase, a 40-year-old woman working as housemaid in Dubai had lost her life to coronavirus.
However, due to the sensitivity of the matter and the impact it could have on the country, the government had not provided details of the deceased persons, said Dahal. “We provided details to the families concerned only as the information could have affected the country negatively in its fight against the contagion,” he added.
As of yesterday, Bahrain with 150 positive cases had the highest number of infected Nepali migrants. The UAE, with 75 cases, had the second highest infection among Nepali migrants.
Forty-three in Kuwait, 30 in Saudi Arabia, four in Oman and three in Malaysia have been infected with the virus. However, there has been no report of any Nepali migrant contracting the disease in Qatar and Oman.
According to Dahal, among the three in Malaysia, two are in critical condition and have been admitted to the local hospital.
“As per our embassy in Malaysia, the condition of the infected workers is critical,” he said.
“We are in close contact with our embassies and missions for regular updates.
Our mission is to conduct regular follow-ups to provide necessary help to migrant workers,” he added.
“Since there is a nationwide lockdown in Nepal and also in the GCC nations and Malaysia, we are unable to bring back the bodies of the deceased,” said Dahal, adding that the bodies will be brought to Nepal once the situation becomes normal.
“Actually, there has been no decision on whether or not to bring back the bodies of the dead migrants,” he stated. “We will take the final decision on the basis of mutual understanding between the two countries as we do not want the infection to spread.”
Most labour destinations with Nepali workers are now plagued by the coronavirus spread. As a result, Nepali workers are at high risk of further infection.
GCC nations and Malaysia are the main labour destinations for Nepali migrants.
According to data provided by Non-Resident Nepali Association, 1,983 Nepalis living abroad had been infected as of April 25. Among them, 49 have died and 422 have recovered.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 3, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.