The border point of Tatopani, a major customs center along the border between Nepal and China, has been operational since Wednesday. A protection area has also been developed in the border area in fear of the Covid-19 pandemic, reported the Kathmandu Post.
According to Lal Bahadur Khatri, Chief of the Tatopani Dry Port and Customs Office, the movement along the border point has resumed in line with the current modality of border traffic between the two countries.
“The border was opened and closed many times for different reasons. We have embraced a new strategy to address all potential problems that could lead to the closure of the border again, “said Khatri.
Authorities from both countries have set up exclusion zones, health centers, quarantine facilities, and other border protection measures to monitor the potential spread of Covid-19 during cross-border travel.
Approximately three kilometers from Liping to Miteri Bridge, a motor bridge linking Nepal and China, has been described as an insulation yard. A quarantine facility has been set up in the area to accommodate Nepalese workers working at the border point. The region was marked with a red mark for Chinese officials and employees and a yellow mark for Nepalese personnel within a five-meter distance.
A group of five senior Chinese officials, including customs officials and security officers, inspected the insulation yard on Wednesday. According to the customs office, the Chinese officials who arrived at the border point of Tatopani in two vehicles from Lhasa received detailed details when importing and exporting goods across the border.
Khatri said the Chinese officials were pleased with the modality adopted to monitor the spread of the virus across the border.
The Chinese authority has urged Nepal to take high-level health protection steps to stem the outbreak of Covid-19 through cross-border activities.
“All the requisite preparations were completed on Wednesday. Goods will be imported via containers to Nepal as per the new modality of health protection from Thursday. There are now a few containers filled with goods across the bridge on the Chinese side,” Khatri said. According to him, a group of 20 employees was deployed in the insulation yard after performing their Polymerase Chain Reaction studies.
Security has been increased in the Tatopani region. Without official approval, no one can cross the border. Keshav Kumar Shrestha, an inspector at the Tatopani Border Outpost of the Armed Police Force, said that only approved personnel could enter the isolation area. “All approved staff should wear personal protective equipment, face masks and gloves,” he said.
Two gates were also set up at the Miteri Bridge and the isolation yard.
The border point of Tatopani was reopened on 5 October after three months of closure. The Chinese authorities closed the border on the day after three Nepalese employees tested positive for Covid-19.
With the decision to reopen the border point, local people expressed concern about the potential transfer of Covid-19 from Wuhan, China, for the first time. People’s representatives, the district administration office, the customs office, and the security agencies have been advised to take health security steps to monitor the spread of the virus.
“Opening the border point with high security in place is our appeal to the authorities concerned. The authorities should also remember the welfare of the residents, “said Raj Kumar Paudel, President of Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality. The boundary point of Tatopani is situated at Ward No. 2 of the local unit.