Apart from impacting the Nepali tourism sector, the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic threatens to push the timeline of various construction projects in the country.
The Pokhara Regional International Airport was originally scheduled to commence in July 2021.
However, the project might be delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak in China.
The USD 240 million project is being constructed by China CAMC Engineering and it has so far completed 55% of the total work.
However, the project is expected to get delayed due to the labor shortage.
Most of the 164 Chinese workers returned to China for the Lunar New Year holidays in January and they were supposed to return to work by February 1, 2020.
The workers are now undergoing quarantine in Sichuan, China and will be allowed to depart for Nepal only if they show no symptoms.
Moreover, the workers arriving from China will be again isolated at the project site for 14 days before allowing them to work.
The Pokhara Regional International Airport is panned to have 2,500m long, 45m wide runway and is being built with an aim to handle around 1 million passengers a year and 600 per hour.
Apart from Pokhara Airport, China-involved Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) is also being delayed as the technical workers haven’t returned from China.
The GBIA is being constructed by China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group that features 250 skilled Chinese workers.
Likewise, Melamchi Water Supply Project and 756MW Tamor Storage Hydroelectric Project are affected by the coronavirus epidemic.
So far, China has reported 78,832 cases and 2,788 deaths from coronavirus.
At least 30 other countries have reported coronavirus infection cases. There are 70 death cases and around 4,547 confirmed cases outside China.
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