Nepal goes to week-long lockdown over coronavirus pandemic

Saurabh Sharma

A week-long nationwide lockdown began in Nepal on Tuesday to stem the spread of fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic which has killed nearly 17,000 people and infected 3.8 lakh others globally. On the first day of the restrictions, markets remained closed and roads wore a deserted look barring the vehicles of security personnel and medical facilities.

A meeting of the high-level committee for the prevention and control of COVID-19 led by Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel took the decision on Monday, hours after a second coronavirus case was confirmed in Kathmandu. Following the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Nepal government enforced lockdown to contain the possible spread of coronavirus.

Nepal has so far tested two positive patients. The government has asked people to remain inside homes. However, medicine shops and gas stations have been allowed to operate. Those violating the lockdown will be fined Rs 1,000 or one month imprisonment or both. The government on Tuesday decided to allow Nepalese nationals returning from India through land-route till Tuesday evening. However, they need to remain in quarantine for 14 days.

The government has already closed its borders with India and China for a week starting Monday. Police in Mahottari district of Province 2 have confiscated 48 two-wheelers for lockdown-related violations. They have also arrested 52 people from Kathmandu for gathering enemas. Meanwhile, the number of deaths from the coronavirus cases stood at 16,961 across the world, according to multiple reports. More than 386,350 declared cases have been registered in 175 countries and territories since the pandemic first emerged in China in December.