CCMC Meeting

Govt mulls closing int'l border, suspending flights to and from Nepal as COVID-19 cases see a fresh spike

Published On: January 7, 2022 08:03 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 7: Government is mulling to close the international border and suspend all flights to and from Nepal as the number of COVID-19 cases has seen a spike in the country in recent days.

Sources said the issues of closing the international border and suspending international flights to and from Nepal in case of sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in coming days were discussed during a COVID-19 Crisis Management Committee (CCMC) meeting held on Friday. "The number of COVID-19 cases has continued to increase. We may have to close the international border and suspend international flights in order to contain further spread of the COVID-19. However, the meeting today has not taken any decision on this yet," said a senior government official, asking not to be named.

The CCMC meeting held in Singha Durbar decided to tighten cross-border movement and keep COVID-19 affected people in quarantines and holding centers. The meeting has also decided to increase the capacity of holding centers across the country.

Currently, all seven provinces are building holding centers that can accommodate at least 1,000 people at a time. The meeting has decided to complete the ongoing construction works of holding centers and arrange the budget necessary  to keep people infected with the COVID-19 in the holding centers.

According to Health Minister Birodh Khatiwada, the meeting decided to convene another meeting of the CCMC soon and take a decision to enforce smart lockdown if the cases of COVID-19 continued to rise. The meeting discussed closing cinema halls and schools and prohibiting all events that form a huge crowd of people.

The decision comes in the wake of Nepal confirming a total of 24 new cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Friday. The number of new cases of COVID-19 is also increasing sharply as the country recorded 968 new cases on Friday, up from 540 a day earlier. The country recorded 435 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The CCMC meeting has decided to take necessary precautions to help contain further spread of the COVID-19 in Nepal. In addition to making PCR and antigen tests mandatory to those entering Nepal to determine if they are already infected with the COVID-19 and sending infected persons to quarantine centers, the government has also decided to expand the scope of COVID-19 tests across the country.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has directed all government officials concerned to take necessary precautions to help contain further spread of COVID-19.  Addressing the Directorate Committee meeting of the CCMC on Friday, Prime Minister Deuba urged all government bodies concerned to take necessary measures to help contain the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

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