Nepal reopens regular flights as Covid wave subsides

Kathmandu, Jun 24 (EFE).- Nepal on Thursday resumed international flights with some restrictions, while domestic flights will be allowed to operate from Jul. 1, nearly two months after operations were suspended as authorities imposed a lockdown to check the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The joint secretary at the civil aviation and tourism ministry, Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane told EFE that the government decided to open multiple international routes as the lockdown has been eased in an attempt to boost the economy, while the daily coronavirus caseload has declined.

“As the daily virus infection cases have decreased we have decided to open up flights. But all international and domestic flights will have to follow health safety protocols developed by the government,” he said.

Nepal on Thursday reported 2,474 fresh cases of the coronavirus, taking the total number of infections past 629,000, while the disease has killed 8,918 people in the country so far. Around 49,500 of the total cases remain active.

With the new decisions in place, four weekly flights have been permitted on the Kathmandu-Doha, Kathmandu-Dubai and Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur routes, apart from the two Chinese cities of Chengdu and Guangzhou.

Similarly, two weekly flights have been allowed on the Kathmandu-Istanbul, Kathmandu-Dammam and Kathmandu-Kuwait City routes.

One weekly flight will be permitted to operate between the Nepalese capital and Oman, Seoul and Tokyo.

Domestic flights will be allowed to operate 50 percent of the number of flights they had been operating before Covid.

Nepalese authorities had halted all domestic flights from the midnight of May 3, and banned international flights three days later as the pandemic situation seemed to be spiraling out of control.

The resumption of flights will help dozens of Chinese mountaineers return home who had been stranded in the Himalayan country for the last four weeks due to restrictions imposed by Beijing. Most of the mountaineers from other countries had managed to return home through chartered flights.

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