Prime Minister KP Oli addresses the nation from his official residence at Baluwatar, Kathmandu on Friday evening. He announced a raft of measures to curb a possible spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Nepal. Photo courtesy: Prime Minister’s Office
KATHMANDU, March 21: Announcing a slew of measures to contain the possible spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister KP Oli in an address to the nation on Friday urged people not to be panicked by the current situation but to take necessary precautions to stay safe.
Prime Minister Oli announced the closure of all public and private services, except essential services, for two weeks. The government has been taking stringent measures to prevent a possible spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The prime minister announced the closure of all international flights to and from Nepal from Sunday until March 31. But the government has decided not to close the borders.
“Giving priority to the health and security of passengers coming through the border entry points, arrivals will be processed after mandatory health checkups. Necessary coordination will be made with neighboring countries in this regard,” said Oli.
The government has decided to close down the operation of long-route public buses from Monday until further notice but domestic flights will operate, he said.
“All services to be delivered from public, community and private institutions at the federal, provincial and local levels are closed from March 22 till April 3, except for essential services listed in the Nepal Gazette,” he further said.
The Nepal Gazette updated six months ago lists as essential services 17 services related to transportation and the distribution of essential foods, drinking water, petroleum, health services and internal security. Posts and telecommunications, press and publications, military equipment and garbage management, banking, insurance and electricity won’t be affected by the government closure decision.
The government had already decided to close down educational institutions including schools and colleges, cinemas, clubs, party venues and other crowded places for a month. “More steps can be taken with your (people’s) cooperation, depending on the situation of the pandemic,” said Oli in his address.
The prime minister has also appealed to the public to maintain proper sanitization and avoid crowds and commutes outside unless necessary.
Keeping in view the possible shortage of essential goods in the market, Prime Minister Oli also urged people not to stock up on essentials more than their need.
“Don’t be swayed by rumors and follow the advice of experts, doctors or technicians, be patient, excercise endurance and caution, and don’t panic,” Oli urged.