Govt takes sweeping measures to contain spread of COVID-19
March 19, 2020 06:30 AM NPT
People asked not to make movements outside the home except when it is absolutely essential
Arrival of nationals from COVID-19 affected countries banned till April 30
Gatherings of more than 25 persons at party venues, temples, mosques, monasteries and other public places banned
Cinema halls, cultural centers, stadiums, gyms, health clubs, museums, swimming pools, entertainment spaces, dance bars and clubs to remain shut till April 30
Regular classes and examinations of academic institutions suspended till April 12
Owners of hotels, restaurants and shopping malls asked to make necessary arrangements for hand sanitizers, use disinfectants at tables, chairs, walls, railings and toilets and carry out health screenings with the use of infrared thermometers
KATHMANDU, March 19: In response to the call of the World Health Organization for countries to take ‘aggressive’ steps in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government on Wednesday took sweeping measures including closing educational institutions, suspending the operation of all entertainment and recreation spaces, restricting ‘unnecessary’ movement of people and stopping arrivals of nationals from the novel coronavirus-affected countries till April 30.
A meeting of the High-Level Coordination Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control decided to restrict the entry into Nepal of the nationals of all European countries, West Asia including the Gulf countries, Iran and Turkey, as well as Malaysia, South Korea and Japan and those coming to Nepal via transit through those countries. The travel restriction will be effective from March 20 midnight till April 15. These countries have already witnessed cases of the virus.
All airline operators have been asked not to charge additional fees and fully refund tickets if any passenger has already booked a ticket during the government’s travel advisory period and is forced to cancel as a result of the government’s travel advisory.
The government has also decided to urge all people not to make movements outside the home except when there are emergencies, and to restrict gatherings of more than 25 persons at ‘party palaces’, temples, mosques, monasteries and other public places, in order to avoid the possible spread of COVID-19. In addition to the Home and Tourism Ministries of the federal government, the provincial and local governments have been entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of these precautionary measures against the threat of the virus.
The meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ishwar Pokharel decided to shut down cinema halls, cultural centers, stadiums, gyms, health clubs, museums, swimming pools, entertainment spaces, dance bars and clubs till April 30. Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology will jointly monitor the implementation of the decision.
The meeting has decided to ask all hotels, restaurants and shopping mall owners to make necessary arrangement for hand sanitizers and other such items and use disinfectants at tables, chairs, walls, railings and toilets and also use infrared thermometers to carry out health screenings for all their clients.
In view of the possible threat, the government has also decided to suspend classes at academic institutions till April 12. While all schools and colleges in Kathmandu Valley have announced suspension of regular classes effective from Thursday, scheduled examinations of schools and colleges have been put off until further notice.
While urging public transport entrepreneurs not to carry passengers more than their seating capacity and members of the public not to travel in crowded vehicles, the meeting of the High Level Coordination Committee on COVID Control and Prevention has made it mandatory for the owners of public vehicles to disinfect such vehicles every day. Similarly, rural municipalities and municipalities concerned have been asked to disinfect areas of public importance where people gather regularly, at certain time interval.
The government has also decided to take tough action against those involved in creating artificial shortages of daily essentials, selling them at exorbitantly higher prices and in black marketing. While assuring that there are adequate stocks of daily essentials, the government has also urged the general public not to unnecessarily stock up on daily essentials, in order to ease the supply of these goods in the market.
The government has decided to extend the visa of foreign nationals who are forced to prolong their stay in Nepal as a result of the government’s latest measures, if they apply for the extension before the expiry of their valid visa period. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall coordinate over this matter.