The Nepalese government have announced that the lockdown measures and other restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are being lifted as of midnight (local time) on Tuesday, July 21. Restrictions have been partially eased since mid-June, and due to a decline in the number of daily COVID-19 cases, restrictions on movement have now been lifted. Travel between districts can now resume and long-route buses will resume operations from August 17. Restaurants will be allowed to reopen from July 30 and hotels from July 31.
The government has announced that international and domestic commercial flights will resume from August 17 and land borders will reopen on the same day. Tourism activities, including mountain trekking, will be able to resume from this date. Currently, travelers arriving into Nepal have to self-quarantine for 14 days, and anyone suspected of having the virus will also be quarantined for 14 days. It is not clear as yet as to whether these requirements will remain in place once commercial air travel resumes.
As of Wednesday, July 22, health authorities have confirmed a total of 17,944 COVID-19 cases with 40 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.