VN 2020, Sagarmatha Sambaad to be rescheduled

Kathmandu, March 1

Amid the global coronavirus epidemic and its possible risk in Nepal, the government has decided to reschedule two major events — Visit Nepal 2020 and the Sagarmatha Sambaad.

The Cabinet meeting this evening decided to reconsider these events owing to unfavourable situation that has resulted due to the outbreak of COVID-19 across the world, informed a Cabinet minister. “As the world today is focused on preventing and containing the outbreak of the disease caused by coronavirus, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli directed ministers to reschedule these events,” said the minister. However, the government is yet to decide on the new dates for the events.

While the VN 2020 kicked off on January 1, the three-day Sagarmatha Sambaad, a global dialogue on climate change, is scheduled to begin on April 2.

The Cabinet has also decided to temporarily halt the issuance of on-arrival visa for foreigners from March 7. This means foreigners willing to visit Nepal will have to get their visa from Nepal’s embassy in their respective nations.

As a measure to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in Nepal, the government has also decided to discourage big public events (both domestic and international) for the time-being. The Cabinet meeting also held discussion on temporarily halting flights to and from countries hit by the coronavirus outbreak. It also dwelt on halting the outflow of Nepali migrant workers.

The government is also preparing to issue travel advisory urging Nepalis not to travel to coronavirus-affected nations. Officials in the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said the government also planned to halt flights to and from nations where coronavirus has been detected, if necessary.

The Cabinet also decided to recall Nepal’s Ambassador to China Leela Mani Paudyal and has proposed former foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, who is also a member of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) as the new ambassador for China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated.