Nepal extends coronavirus lockdown by 10 days

Kathmandu, Jun 2 (EFE).- Nepal on Wednesday extended the Covid-19-linked prohibitory orders for another ten days while easing some of the restrictions.

Dhundi Prasad Niraula, the chief district officer of Lalitpur, one of the three districts in the Kathmandu valley, told EFE that the prohibitory orders had now been extended until June 14.

Nepal had imposed a lockdown on Apr. 29 that was gradually expanded to all but two of its 77 districts and has been extended twice until June 3 as the second Covid-19 wave had a devastating impact on the health system with families scrambling for hospital beds and bottled oxygen.

However, the authorities have now eased some restrictions as the cases of coronavirus have started to drop.

From Friday, the authorities will allow grocery shops, departmental stores and stationery shops to open till 9 am. Similar opening hours had already been permitted to shops selling vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat and drinking water.

Vehicles carrying construction materials will be allowed to ply from 9 pm to 4 am, but public transport and offices will remain shut.

According to health ministry data, Nepal registered 5,316 new Covid cases within the past 24 hours, while 101 people died of the disease in the same period, taking the total death toll to 7,555.

The daily number of deaths had surged to over 200 during the second wave’s peak in mid-May.

“As the numbers of Covid-19 infected patient has started to drops, and with the international community helping Nepal with oxygen and other medical supplies, there is no shortage of hospital beds and oxygens in Kathmandu and other parts of the country,” health ministry spokesperson Krishna Prasad Paudel told EFE.

“We are hopeful that the number of cases will come down (further) in the coming days,” he added.

The government has also allowed limited international flights to operate from Thursday.

“The cabinet has also decided to open limited international passenger flights to four destinations: New Delhi, Istanbul, Doha and Guangzhou,” Rajan Pokhrel, the director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, told EFE.

He said the decision will allow trekkers and mountaineers to return home as the mountaineering season ends on Thursday.

After several months of relatively low daily Covid cases in Nepal, infections increased rapidly in mid-April, rising from 150 per day in early April to over 8,000 by May 5. EFE


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