Kathmandu [Nepal], Mar 31 (ANI): Thousands of migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been stranded at Raxaul-Birgunj border between India and Nepal due to the lockdown that has been imposed in both countries in view of the surging COVID-19 cases.
The workers have been held up at the no man's land for 30 hours while attempting to flee back to their hometown after Indian authorities did not allow them to enter the country as a preventive measure over the coronavirus threat.
On March 16, India sealed its porous border with Nepal, banned the entry of foreign nationals into Bihar and suspended bus services for a fortnight to stem the spread of the highly contagious disease.
Health officials said the action was taken after a symptomatic case was detected at one of the 49 transit points along the border and one case of coronavirus was confirmed in Nepal. Health officials said the districts bordering Nepal are under special focus for stringent surveillance at transit points.
Meanwhile, after a Cabinet meeting, the Nepal government decided on Sunday to extend its national lockdown by another week till April 7 midnight.
Due to the lockdown in Nepal, the migrant workers were facing difficulty in receiving food supplies. As a result, they started walking to cross the border on foot.
The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, Motihari, Bihar, are taking stock of the situation.
Motihari DM said that the border is sealed and the safety of the people is more important at this time. "The Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu are in talks with the Nepali authorities to facilitate the people at the border," he said.
In a similar circumstance, thousands of Nepalese migrant workers are also stranded at the Indo-Nepal border town of Dharchula in Uttarakhand, following the lockdown due to the coronavirus threat.
The Central government has ordered all States to seal borders and that there should be no movement of people.
India has recorded 1,117 active COVID-19 positive cases as on Monday night. (ANI)