Govt seals border, creates Rs 500 million fund

Kathmandu, March 22

The government today decided to shut down entry points for the people’s movement on both the northern and southern sides, and create Rs 500-million fund to fight the novel coronavirus.

The border restrictions will start from 10:00 am tomorrow and will last for a week, according to the decision taken in a meeting held at the prime minister’s residence in Baluwatar.

The government’s decision comes amid heightened concerns after a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in India with which Nepal shares an 1,800-kilometre open border.

The government has decided to mobilise a joint team of the army and police along the border to ensure effective curbs.

“We have taken this decision keeping in mind the fact that coronavirus spreads through the increased movement of people,” said the Spokesman for the government and the Minister of Finance, Communications and Information Technology Yubaraj Khatiwada at a press meet after the meeting. “Imports and exports of goods will continue as usual,” he added.

The government has also decided to make an initial contribution of Rs 500 million to the fund created to procure logistics to be used for the treatment of the infected in case of an outbreak.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and all the ministers will contribute their one-month salaries to the fund. “Anybody can contribute to the fund,” said Khatiwada.

The government also decided to use Nepal Police hospitals exclusively for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The government also decided to intensify market monitoring to discourage black-marketing and anomalies in the market.