Enforce health safety measures strictly, not lockdown, says AOAN
KATHMANDU, Nov 13:
The Airline Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) has taken exception to the government's preparation to impose lockdown once again to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Releasing a statement on Friday, AOAN said that another lockdown would lead to an economic downturn at a time when the economy has somewhat revived after the previous six-month lockdown and would mean the government shirking its responsibility.
The statement from the private domestic airline operators of the country comes in the wake of recent recommendations from the Valley Municipal Forum to the government to impose the third phase of lockdown in the Valley after Tihar and Chhath festivals to control the rising COVID-19 infection.
Stating that the number of infected people rose at a rapid pace even during the strict lockdowns, AOAN said that many countries have proved that COVID-19 can be controlled by embracing health safety measures and many infected people have returned to regular work after two weeks of isolation.
It is not appropriate to bring tourism, transportation, aviation and other businesses to a halt, according to the statement.
The decision to impose a lockdown could result in job losses for thousands and livelihoods for those who rely on them as well as put additional cost for airlines which have already suffered losses worth nearly Rs 6 billion, said AOAN.
It has also drawn the attention of the government to the decision of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to reopen the country for international tourists. “The initial results of the reopening are encouraging and travel agencies are already carrying out bookings for holiday packages and trekking booking confirmation. So, it should not be stopped,” reads the statement.
It also urged the government to strictly enforce the health safety measures and protocols like use of face masks and social distancing, among others.
“So, this association and its member airlines have a huge reservation toward imposing another lockdown,” it added.