Int'l flight suspension extended till April 15

Kathmandu, March 29

The government has decided to extend suspension of incoming international flights till April 15.

A meeting of the high-level coordination committee for the prevention and control of novel coronavirus today took a decision to his effect.

The government had on March 20 decided to halt international flights operations at Tribhuvan International Airport from March 22 to March 31. Domestic flights have remained suspended since the country went for a nationwide complete lockdown from March 24.

The government has also decided to take stern action against those not willing to stay in quarantine, fleeing quarantine, not informing the authorities about their possible exposure to COVID-19. The committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwor Pokhrel decided that such individuals will be sent to jail and the home ministry would do necessary coordination.

The government also decided that it would take security agencies’ help while setting up and operating quarantine facilities in various parts of the country.

As per today’s decisions, medical equipment received from China such as personal protective equipment will be delivered to various provinces as per their need.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the committee’s member secretary Ram Prasad Bidari said the government received five units of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machines, which are used for the test of COVID-19 infection.

He said four of the machines would be delivered to Province-1, Province-5, Karnali, and Sudurpaschhim provinces immediately. The remaining one will be kept stock in Kathmandu, and will be sent to places where needed. As far as Province-1 is concerned, testing has already begun at Dharan.

“We will deliver more to provinces as we receive in the future,” said Bidari. “The government will also deliver 1,000 units of PPE to each of the seven provinces, besides other equipment and medicines.”

The government has also decided to allow Nepalis, who are stuck at border points on their way back home, to enter Nepal on the basis of their identity cards. However, they will be allowed in on condition that they have to compulsorily undergo a 14-day quarantine at the nearest quarantine facility. Their all details will also be taken. The exercise will be carried out in coordination with provincial and local governments.

As far as Nepalis students living in various foreign countries, parents can now send them money from Nepal and the Nepal Rastra Bank will make necessary arrangements for the same. “The Nepali students have been urged to stay safe wherever they are. They have been requested to return Nepal only after the situation returns to normalcy,” said Bidari.

The government will also seek help from security agencies to ensure smooth supply of goods, including food, medicines and daily essentials. “The government will leave no stone unturned to supply remains smooth,” said Bidari.