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07 Apr 2020 | 10:31 AM UTC

Nepal: Government extends international flight suspensions through April 30 /update 6

Nepal extends international flight suspensions through April 30 due to COVID-19; confirm travel itineraries

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Event

On Tuesday, April 7, the Nepali government extended its suspension on international flights through Thursday, April 30, due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The original suspension was put in place on March 22 and set to end on Wednesday, April 15. Domestic flights remain suspended through April 15; chartered humanitarian assistance and medical supply flights are exempt from the restrictions.

On Monday, April 6, the Nepali government announced an eight-day extension to a nationwide lockdown until midnight (local time) on April 15. The country has been in lockdown since Tuesday, March 24. All individuals have been instructed to stay at home while all nonessential services and manufacturing will be closed. However, citizens can leave their homes to seek medical attention and to purchase food.

The Ministry of Health and Population announced on Saturday, April 4, that Nepal had entered the second stage (out of four stages) of the pandemic following confirmation of locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in the country. As a precautionary measure, authorities will be carrying out rapid COVID-19 diagnostic testing in districts where there have been confirmed cases, including Kailali, Kanchanpur, and Baglung. Nepal has also closed all its borders with India and China since Monday, March 23. Meanwhile, schools, colleges, and universities will remain closed until Sunday, April 12, and gatherings of more than 25 people, including at cinemas, gyms, museums, and places of worship, are prohibited.

As of April 7, authorities have confirmed at least nine COVID-19 cases nationwide, including one recovery. The government has advised the public to call 1180 if they know of anyone suspected to be infected with COVID-19. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

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.