Nepal | September 22, 2020

Government casts doubt on August 17 resumption of flights, rules out complete lockdown

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  • Khatiwada casts doubt on August 17 resumption of flights
  • Requests the public not to panic


The government has ruled out another complete lockdown, the kind that was imposed on March 24.

Unveiling recent decisions taken by the Cabinet, Spokesperson for the government, Yubaraj Khatiwada said the government was not planning to impose a complete lockdown.

“The government will take further decisions on the basis of COVID situation in specific areas. The government might stop people’s movement in the districts with a high risk of the virus,” he said, “As we are strictly monitoring people’s movement in high-risk districts, we will continue with the same modality to prevent COVID from spreading.”

He added that the government was not in favour of imposing a complete lockdown as it did on March 24.

District administration offices will act depending on the spread of the contagion, added Khatiwada.

He requested the business sector and the general public not to panic.

With the rise in the number of positive COVID cases, people were assuming that the government might impose a complete lockdown again.

While businesses have finally resumed operations gradually, they are in a dilemma with the surge in positive cases in recent days. Addressing this concern, Khatiwada, who is also the finance minister, said the government would facilitate businesses to operate smoothly.

He said the government was not planning to impose a complete lockdown, but ruled out resuming public vehicles for long distance travel or opening of schools and colleges in the near future. “The situation is not favourable for even resuming aviation services at this moment as the number of positive COVID cases is spiking,” he added.

It was announced earlier that domestic and international flights would resume on August 17, albeit with reduced capacity. While the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has revealed that an increasing number of international operators are applying for slots to resume services, the surge in coronavirus cases has made domestic airline operators anxious.

The government will take further decisions after holding meetings with the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre regarding the coronavirus crisis in the country, Khatiwada said.

“Meanwhile, the government will continue to evacuate people stranded in foreign countries via repatriation flights.

“Regarding other people, we will think accordingly,” added Khatiwada.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 8, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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