Repatriation of Nepalis stranded abroad will be stopped for two days on Monday and Tuesday, the government has stated.

Buddhisagar Lamichhane, joint secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, informed that the two-day rest meant no chartered flights from abroad with the aim to undertake cleaning and maintenance works at the airport and holding center.

According to the Ministry, the decision was taken considering rest needed for the working staff of airport, including pilots and other crew members of rescue flights.

“The rescue schedule from July 15 to 21 will arrive soon,” Lamichhane said adding, “The COVID-19 Crisis Management Center (CCMC) will decide further steps.”

Nepal Airlines and Himalayan Airlines have been conducting repatriation flights. So far, about 22,000 Nepalis have returned from various foreign countries via chartered flights at their own expense since the repatriation drive began on June 5.

As many as 50,000 Nepalis are still enlisted as willing to return to Nepal.

Although the government had initially announced that repatriation of Nepalis stranded abroad will be carried out on priority basis, many languishing in foreign countries are still unable to come home as they can’t afford to pay for exorbitant flight tickets and quarantine centers.

Meanwhile, the government has also started discussions regarding resumption of regular international fights.