KATHMANDU, June 11: Amid mounting pressure from all the quarters, the government has decided to ease the ongoing nationwide lockdown that it enforced on March 24 to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
A cabinet meeting held on Wednesday decided to change the modality of lockdown in an attempt to gradually resume economic activities. The meeting has decided to allow the operation of businesses, industries and private vehicles in the districts that have recorded fewer cases of COVID-19.
The private vehicles will be operated on an odd-even basis in a bid to avoid heavy traffic congestion. The Ministry of Home Affairs has been asked to formulate an appropriate work plan to this effect. Private four-wheelers will be allowed to carry only two passengers including the driver, while two-wheelers will be restricted to carry pillion riders.
The cabinet, however, laid an emphasis on adopting precautionary measures including social distance in order to check further spread of the COVID-19. Nepal has recorded a total of 15 deaths as a result of COVID-19, while there are 3,675 active cases of this fatal disease.
Although the government decided to ease the ongoing lockdown, it has decided not to hold the postponed Secondary Education Examination (SEE) of Grade X in view of the serious health risk that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose across the country. The students will be awarded SEE certificates on the basis of internal evaluations made by their respective schools, according to the Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Giriraj Mani Pokharel.
The movement of people to Kathmandu from outside districts will be controlled until the situation improves further. The government has decided to hold discussions with local administration before taking any decisions to ease the lockdown in the districts outside Kathmandu Valley. The government may decide to seal districts or local units if they have a large number of people affected by the COVID-19.
The cabinet meeting has decided not to allow long-haul passenger bus services. Schools, colleges and cinema halls and other places of the public gathering will continue to be closed until further notice.
The cabinet meeting also decided to transfer three Additional Inspector Generals of Armed Police Force (APF) as per the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs. While Narayan Babu Thapa has been transferred to APF Academy from Operation Department, Pushpa Ram KC has been transferred to the Human Resource Department. Similarly, AIG Ram Sharan Poudel has been transferred to the Operation Department.
What will open after the government’s decision to ease lockdown?
All the health services
Transportation and sale of medicines, foodstuff and beverages, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, fish and meat, drinking water
Transportation and sale of petroleum products
Electricity, fire brigade, ambulance, information and communication and postal services.
Banks and financial institutions, cooperatives and insurance services
All agricultural and livestock-related activities
Services related to seeds, fertilizers, agricultural tools and cold storage
Business-related to excavation, collection, transportation and sale of river products, minerals
All types of construction works
Take away food services of restaurants
Hotels designated as quarantine facilities
Sale and maintenance of electric items
Workshops repairing electronic devices, machinery items and vehicles
All types of transportation services
All offices providing emergency services
Government and private offices (Less than 50% attendance of their staff)
Restriction to continue:
Educational institutions (Schools, colleges, tuition centers, training centers)
Shopping malls, department stores (except for those selling foodstuff)
Cinema halls, party palaces, dance bars and all types of recreation centers
International and domestic flights (except those receiving prior permission)
Cross border movement
All types of festivals, fairs, exhibition, conferences and assemblies
Meetings, seminars, trainings with more than 25 people
Places of religious and social gathering
Swimming pools, gym halls, health clubs including sauna, steam, massage centers, saloon and beauty parlors
Sports activities and performances in the grounds and stadiums
All vehicles except those designated above
All the vehicles except for ambulance, fire brigade, cargo vehicles and the vehicles used to carry dead bodies and those used in funeral procession between 9 pm to 5 am
The government will make an assessment of the situation of COVID-19 infection after 21 days of the implementation of the first phase of ‘loose down’. If the situation is favourable, the government will implement the second phase of ‘loose down’, which will be implemented for 15 days.