National Assembly meeting postponed indefinitely over virus fears

Speaker election process

KATHMANDU, March 20: The National Assembly meeting scheduled for today afternoon has been postponed until further notice over COVID-19 fears.

The postponement follows the government’s direction not to hold gatherings of more than 25 people as part of its effort to prevent the possible outbreak of novel coronavirus. 

Earlier, the meeting of the House of Representatives was also called off until March 26.

The Province 1, 2 and Bagmati Assemblies have also been prorogued citing virus.

Although Nepal has not reported any cases of COVID-19 infection since the first case was confirmed on a student on holiday from Wuhan on Jan 24, the country is under an announced lockdown, with the government expanding travel restrictions on passengers including Nepalis from European countries, West Asia, Gulf countries, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan until April 15.

However, movement from China is open.

The World Health Organization has declared Europe the new epicenter of the virus, with Italy’s deaths from pandemic eclipsing China’s on Thursday.

While the death toll in Italy has reached 3,450 with 41,035 confirmed cases, China on Friday reported no new domestic cases for a second day.

The virus has claimed 3,248 lives in China with 80,928 cases.

Spain and France are other worst-hit countries after Iran. Iran has reported 1,248 deaths and 18,407 confirmed cases, followed by Spain with 767 deaths and 17147 infections and France with 372 deaths and 10995 cases.

The death toll from the virus globally has risen to 9,827 with 232686 cases in 158 countries and territories, according to a report by AFP.

The Government of Nepal has also ordered shut down of schools, theatres, cinema halls, cultural centers and stadiums and forbids gatherings exceeding 25 people in a bid to prevent the possible outbreak while the Tribhuvan University, Public Service Commission has postponed their scheduled exams until April 12.

The Secondary Education Examination, scheduled to be held from March 19, was also postponed in the final hours.