Nepal closes all border points with India and China for a week


KATHMANDU, March 22: The government of Nepal has decided to close all border points with India and China for a week as part of its effort to prevent the possible outbreak of COVID-19.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Sunday evening decided to shut down the borders which will come into effect from 10:00 am tomorrow morning, said government Spokesperson Yuba Raj Khatiwada.

With the decision, the passenger movement through Nepal-India and Nepal-China border points will remain blocked. However, the transportation of goods through the entry points will remain open.

The decision comes after the World Health Organization advised Nepal to close all border points to prevent the outbreak.

The Civil Aviation Authority, as per the Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s announcement in his address to the nation, is also suspending all the international arriving flights to Nepal effective from today midnight until April 3. The domestic flights will continue operation.

The meeting has also decided to establish an emergency fund of Rs 500 million to prevent and combat the virus outbreak.

The ministers will donate their one month’s salary to the fund.

The government has also decided to run all the public and private services as usual. Earlier, the government had decided to close all public and private services except “essential ones” from March 22 to April 3.

The long-route bus services will also come to halt from tomorrow.

Earlier on Wednesday, the government decided to close the theaters, cinema halls, schools, colleges, cultural centers, stadiums, gyms, swimming pools, museums, entertainment centers, dance bars and other places of public gatherings until April 30 and forbade gatherings of more than 25 people in temples, gumbas, mosques, churches and other public places.

The government has also suspended visa-on-arrival for all foreign nationals until April 30, while labor approval also remains suspended until further notice.