Nepal is expected to host a large delegation of personnel from the medical unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army to deal with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, a source familiar with the discussion inside the Nepal Communist Party has said. The decision is influenced by the leading role played by the PLA’s medical teams in containing the pandemic in Wuhan and nearby areas which were the epicentre of the crisis in China .
The Hindu has learnt that Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has discussed the possibility of hosting the medical delegation from China during a recent video call with the head of the international liaison department of the Chinese Communist Party, Song Tao.
“Nepal needs to stop the spread of the COVID-19 and an extensive operation to test and contain the virus is urgently required. It is not yet clear what will be the total number of personnel that Nepal will ultimately get as the testing will have to be done across the country. As per current estimate such an operation will require at least a few thousands of workers,” said a source familiar with the internal discussions in the Nepal Communist Party which maintains fraternal ties with its Chinese counterpart.
Nepal at present has 3,348 COVID-19 cases with 13 recorded deaths. Kathmandu is worried about the further spread of the pandemic as the government has begun repatriation of all Nepalese expat workers on humanitarian grounds. Nepal is likely to receive around two lakh citizens from India alone in the next few weeks apart from several others from other parts of the world.
“The Chinese team is likely to be stationed here for a week or so and carry out an extensive and fast operation of the kind carried out in the affected parts of China,” said the source.
The deliberations in Kathmandu are significant, reflecting China’s growing COVID-19 diplomacy.
Bangladesh is set to receive a major delegation of medical personnel from Beijing on Monday. The delegation, drawn from the National Health Commission of China, will travel to all the COVID-19 affected areas of the country. Beijing’s global health diplomacy has covered Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the major COVID-19 affected countries in the west.