KATHMANDU, April 22: Prime Minister KP Oli has said that the ongoing nationwide lockdown enforced to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) will not be lifted until the situation is effectively brought under control.
Addressing a meeting of the lawmakers belonging to the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) at his official residence in Baluwatar on Wednesday, Prime Minister Oli also said that the measures adopted by the government to check cross-border movement between Nepal and India would be given continuity until the situation of coronavirus is effectively contained in the southern neighbor.
The government first enforced a nationwide lockdown on March 24 amid rising cases of COVID-19. The ongoing lockdown which was extended again on April 14 is set to expire on April 27.
Prime Minister Oli made the remarks in response to the call by his party's lawmakers to rescue the Nepali nationals stuck at various Nepal-India border points due to the government's measures to control cross-border movement. Although the lawmakers suggested to the government to put them in quarantine after allowing them to enter Nepal, Prime Minister Oli said that they will need to stay where they are until the government makes a new decision on border control.
According to an NCP lawmaker, Prime Minister Oli, however, indicated that the lockdown measures will be relaxed depending on the gravity of the COVID-19 situation. He also said that local administration would facilitate those who want to leave the Kathmandu Valley for their homes even during the lockdown period.
The prime minister said that some 12,000 people left the valley for their home districts on Tuesday alone and that the local administration would facilitate the travel if people needed to go outside the Kathmandu Valley.
The meeting was called at the request of Prime Minister Oli in view of the intra-party rift that has surfaced after the government introduced two controversial ordinances. Prime Minister Oli, according to an NCP lawmaker, tried to convince the party's lawmakers that he did not have any ill intention behind introducing the ordinances.
The meeting, however, did not dwell much on the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and help address the problems faced by the general public as a result of the prolonged nationwide lockdown. Prime Minister Oli stopped a number of lawmakers trying to put forth their views on different issues, citing the 'lack of enough time' for discussions.