Govt planning to extend lockdown until April end

coronavirus, COVID-19

KATHMANDU, April 13: The government is preparing to extend the nationwide lockdown by 15 more days as two more people were tested positive on Monday.

The lockdown — which was extended twice on March 29 and April 7 since the enforcement came into effect on March 24, hours after the second case was confirmed– is on the third week and expiring on Wednesday.

But the coronavirus cases continue to climb in Nepal especially on the India returnees of late and the districts in the Southern plain remains the most vulnerable region. The COVID-19 disease has infected 9,240 and killed 331 in India.

Health Ministry today confirmed that a 19-year-old boy from Rautahat and a 65-year-old woman from Kailali have tested positive, both had returned from India, taking the total cases to 14. Of them, 13 are active cases.

Kailali remains the most affected district so far with six reported cases. The district also reported the first case outside the Kathmandu Valley and the first local transmission.

Parsa has reported three cases. On Sunday, three Indian nationals staying in a mosque in Birgunj were tested positive. Kanchanpur also has one case.

According to a high-placed source, the government is planning to shield the areas bordering India to spread the outbreak. The border security measures in Kailali and Jhapa districts have been stepped up to block cross-country movement.

The authorities are planning to impose a curfew across Province 2 including metropolitan Birgunj, according to Rastriya Janata Party Nepal leader Rajendra Mahato.

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has already hinted at lockdown extension saying maintain social distance is the only option to prevent the spread of the virus.

The virus has infected 1,866,654 people and killed 115,260 people worldwide—with the United States being the most affected country with 560,433 cases and 22,115 deaths, followed by Italy with 156,363 cases and 19,899 deaths. Spain has reported 169,496 cases and 17,489 deaths.

Photo: Mukunda Kalikote