Dr. Narad Nath Bharadwaj, Ambassador of Nepal to Qatar
*Nepal ambassador thanks Qatar for taking good care of his compatriots; urges Nepali people to follow preventive steps to stop spread of Covid-19
Qatar, like many other countries of the world, has been caught in the global war against the novel coronavirus, which is spreading like wild fire presenting an existential threat to mankind. As one of the fastest growing economic powers of the Middle East, it has, along with the rest of the world, faced an unprecedented disruption.
In the face of the new challenge brought about by the virus, the people of Qatar are putting up a fierce fight under the wise and able leadership of His Highness the Amir SheikhTamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Under the leadership of His Highness the Amir, the State of Qatar has been successfully uniting its people, winning allies and forming a strong bond among the hundreds of thousands of expatriates in the fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
In this context, the Nepali expatriates too have become a part of the multi-national social alliance fighting tenaciously to protect the Qatari society from being overwhelmed by the coronavirus , while trying everything possible to help the mega-development projects keep going.
This spirit of solidarity is the result of a long-standing friendship nurtured by more than 40 years of diplomatic relations existing so happily between Nepal and Qatar which have shared common views on many international issues over the past decades.
In this difficult time, the Nepali people and the government of Nepal are with Qatar in its fight against the onslaught of the coronavirus. As a small Himalayan nation, constrained by many geo-political factors including poverty and repeated natural calamities, Nepal is also struggling to protect itself from the contagion of the Coronavirus and struggling to achieve modernisation and prosperity under the able leadership of its Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
At present, there are about 350,000 Neplali people working in various sectors of construction in Qatar contributing their brain and brawn for the modernisation and development of this country. Nepal is grateful to Qatar for providing employment to a large number of its nationals, protecting them and giving them access to world-class health care.
Various high level Qatari leaders have repeatedly spoken highly of the contribution of the Nepali people in the development endeavor of Qatar, and this has instilled a high sense of responsibility among the Nepali expatriates to be disciplined, diligent and law-abiding people.
In this time of crisis, the Nepali people in Qatar have the obligation to cooperate with the efforts of the Qatari government to maintain order, prevent the spread of the disease and provide health services to the needy people.
Covid-19 is a very infectious disease. It is not only invisible, it attacks people keeping them asymptomatic for a long time while remaining highly contagious. The Nepali people therefore, should be highly aware of the nature of the disease and strictly comply with the preventive measures, like washing hands, maintaining social distance and using masks while going out.
The Qatari government has created an impressive infrastructure for testing, isolating and treating the Covid-19 patients without discrimination. The equanimity with which the government has treated its citizens and the expatriates has won appreciation world-wide. The Nepali government, too, is aware of this and is confident that the Nepali expatriates will be taken care of and protected by the State of Qatar.
Like the rest of the world, Nepal is also fighting the menace of Covid-19 despite having very fragile health-care system. Its geo-political location also makes it highly vulnerable to widespread infection of the virus. It has a 1,400-km long open border with India and it is always a great challenge to stop the cross border flow of the people in times of such crisis. Despite this, Nepal has been successful in containing the spread of the disease to wider community.
Nepal and Qatar are thousands of miles apart but they are bound together by their common goal of development and a shared dream of prosperity for their people. Now the new challenge of the coronavirus has brought them closer. The fight against the virus is going to be long and painful, but we can be assured that, together, the people of Qatar and the expatriate communities , Nepali people included ,will eventually come out victorious.