KATHMANDU, Mar 2: The government has directed the bodies and organizations under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to act promptly for the preparation of prevention of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Yogesh Bhattarai, in a meeting organized in Kathmandu on Monday, directed the stakeholders to carry out tasks to prevent the spread of the virus in the country.
The government has also decided to shift its focus from international promotions to domestic promotions. Nepal Tourism Board and Visit Nepal Year 2020 secretariat have been directed to postpone the promotional campaigns in international forums starting this month and review the decision in the third week of March and present it to the government. Minister Bhattarai has asked NTB and VNY 2020 secretariat to prepare a brief report regarding the policy and programs the country needs to adopt for the promotion of domestic tourism. The tourism organizations will submit the report within a week, as per the ministry.
The minister has directed the formation of a taskforce in coordination with the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) director, Dev Chandra Lal Karna, Dr Hemanta Chandra Ojha from the Ministry of Health and Population, Rajesh Panthi ,director of the Immigration Office, Sharad Kafle from Airlines Operator Committee along with representatives from security bodies will work to identify additional locations for health checkups and the installation of equipment for the work. Minister Bhattarai has asked for an effective management of health checkup of passengers passing through the arrival and departure halls at TIA.
The CAAN is expected to manage the flow of informative notices to the passengers on board the aircraft that is about to land, regarding the provision that the passengers traveling from foreign countries through TIA should pass through the health desk. “The authority should continuously flow the information in the arrival and departure halls,” the directive stated. The minister has also requested the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and the Department of Immigration (DoI) to coordinate for the management of tests and make necessary arrangement regarding the necessary infrastructure for the health checkups of travelers entering Nepal through land.
The minister in the meeting directed CAAN to submit a report on the basis of study of aviation related strategies implemented by different countries for the prevention and minimization of the virus and discussion with experts to find out whether Nepal needs to suspend international flights.
As per the direction by the minister, NTB will make required internal preparations by widely sharing information on the country and also prepare an alternative strategy for the promotion of Nepal. Similarly, the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has been asked to cancel any formal programs in both Japan and Nepal before the company operates its maiden flight to Narita International Airport.
The minister also requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do necessary work and produce a travel advisory for the international travel of Nepali citizen. Seeking prompt implementation of the directives, the meeting was held in the presence of secretary of MoCTCA, joint secretaries, high officials of MoHP, director general of CAAN, general manager of NAC, NTB CEO, director general of DoI and other stakeholders.