When Abhinav Shrestha, 23, saw the Nepal Airlines Airbus 330 jet finally land at Wuhan Airport last week, flying the proud sun and moon flag of his country on its tail, his heart swelled with pride. Only later, after boarding, did it sink in that he would soon be going home after three weeks alone in his dorm room in Jingzhou in China’s Hubei province.
Shrestha was halfway into his one year MBBS internship at the Jingzhou No. 1 People’s Hospital, when news came of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan three hours drive away. Doctors at the hospital advised all students to remain in self-quarantine for two weeks.
A Nepali in Beijing during coronavirus scare, Rastraraj Bhandari
Covid-19: Both danger and opportunity, Marcia Chen
Although the uncertainty was harrowing, being the son of a physician back in Nepal and a medical student himself Shrestha knew that the virus had a low fatality rate He was in constant touch with his father, who reassured him, advising him to take necessary precautions and urging him not to worry.
“I knew the elderly were most vulnerable, and was aware of what to do to protect myself from the virus, but there was nothing to protect me from the boredom and loneliness of those three weeks,” Shrestha told Nepali Times over the phone on the fifth day of his quarantine at Kharipati near Kathmandu.