Nepal eases lockdown after gradual decline in daily infections

Kathmandu, June 22 (EFE).- Nepal on Tuesday eased some of the lockdown restrictions in the Kathmandu Valley after a gradual decline in daily coronavirus cases.

As per the new guidelines, grocery shops will remain open until 11 am every day, and private vehicles will be allowed to play on an odd-even basis. Other restrictions will continue for another week.

“We have relaxed some of the restrictions following the gradual decline in the number of active Covid-19 cases in the Kathmandu valley,” Dhundi Prasad Niraula, chief district officer of Lalitpur district, told Efe.

As per the new rules, private vehicles with odd registration numbers will be allowed on odd dates in the Nepali calendar and even numbers on even dates. 

According to Niraula, grocery and department stores have been allowed to open till 11 am every day. Other shops have been allowed to open from 11 am to 4 pm.

According to a government notice, jewelry shops, electronics stores, and automobile shops will be allowed to open on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. 

Shopping malls, clothing stores, gift shops, sports apparel stores, and cosmetic shops will be allowed to operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.

Restaurants can run takeaway services till 7 pm. 

The lockdown was first imposed for one week from Apr.29 and was extended multiple times to prevent the spread of the second wave of Covid-19 that has killed 8,813 people since the outbreak last year.

The daily spike in infections has declined after peaking on May 11, when the country confirmed a record 9,317 new infections. 

On Monday, the daily new infection dropped to 2,297. However, the cases increased Tuesday to 4,522 with 41 fatalities, according to the health ministry.

While the district authorities of the Kathmandu Valley are planning to loosen up the lockdown rules, the health ministry has warned of a highly infectious coronavirus variant in the country.

The variant was detected in swab samples of the infected people in Nepal, the ministry said. 

Of the 48 swab samples of infected people, on which whole-genome sequencing was performed, the Delta variant of the virus was detected in swab samples of 47 people, Samir Kumar Adhikari, deputy spokesperson of the ministry, told EFE. EFE


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