Nepal enforces lockdown: What does it entail?

KATHMANDU: Following the confirmation of the second COVID-19 case in Nepal, the government has decided to enforce a lockdown effective from early tomorrow morning till March 31 amid concerns of coronavirus outbreak in the country.

As per the authority given by the Infectious Disease Act, 2020 BS (1964), the government has decided to impose a virus-lockdown for a week to combat the possible outbreak of the new coronavirus infection in Nepal.

The government has urged all citizens to abide by the following decisions:

  • No one is allowed to leave their houses except for urgent matters such as medical emergency, purchase of daily consumable essential items.
  • All vehicular movement of private and public sectors will be halted except emergency vehicles, including those holding special permits, security personnel and medics.
  • All domestic commercial flights will be grounded except the ones used by security agencies.
  • Other than employees working in essential sectors such as health, security, consumable goods, drinking water, dairy, electricity, telecommunication, customs, quarantine, waste management, employees working in other sectors will only be mobilised as per the need by their respective offices.
  • Other than employees working in industries including pharmaceuticals and health equipment, food items, drinking water, dairy, petroleum, provision must be made to grant leave to those working in other private sector industries and factories during the outbreak.
  • Traders must ensure regular procurement of medicine and other medical items. Government will take stern action against traders involved in creating artificial shortage, black-marketing and hoarding essential and life-saving drugs during the difficult times. Government will seize the stocked items and mobilise them in the treatment of patients during the outbreak.
  • To implement this decision in line with Clause 2 and Sub-clause 2 of the Infectious Disease Act, the government will mobilise all the Chief District Officers across the country, and if need be, will also make use of the provisions mentioned in the Local Administration Act (2028 BS).
  • If anyone is found violating the directives, the government will take stern actions against them under the prevailing laws.

Moreover, the government has also decided to approve the COVID-19 related Quarantine Management Standards-2076 BS proposed by the taskforce formed under the coordination of Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Under the guidance of Ministry of Health and Population, measures will now be initiated for the prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19 related cases from hospitals in the country with the coordination of Nepal Army health professionals and with support from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, along with doctors, nurses and other health personnel from government, community-level and private sectors, as per need.

Further support will be provided by Defence, Home, Foreign Affairs and Finance Ministries.