KATHMANDU: Nepal government has decided to suspend on-arrival visa for some more countries after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 as a pandemic. “In the beginning, government had suspended the on-arrival visa to five countries, which is now extended in view of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Dr Yubraj Khatiwada.
The meeting of the high level coordination committee to control the outbreak of deadly COVID-19 held on Thursday made such decision. He however did not share information which countries were in the additional list to not get on-arrival visa. “Information will be flowed from one-door system. The committee secretariat shared official decisions,” he said, making it clear that the air flights were not cancelled. Earlier, the government had suspended the on-arrival visa to the people from China, Iran, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, South Korea and Japan.
The high level committee meeting held at Prime Minister’s Office discussed thoroughly on Nepal’s preparedness to stay safe from the pandemic. High level of alertness will be maintained, Minister Khatiwada added.
As India said only some border points will be open for movement, the government here will follow the suit. For its implementation, the Home Ministry and Foreign Ministry are assigned the responsibility.
As part of preparedness measures, the meeting has decided to additionally set up quarantine zones and isolation wards and increase supply of equipment and test kits for the virus amidst the World Health Organisation putting Nepal at high risk of the infection.
“Such quarantine areas will be established away from dense human settlements as far as possible and the Health Ministry will make necessary arrangements in this regard,” said Minister Khatiwada, adding that security forces could set up quarantine zones immediately if need be.
Similarly, health workers and representatives of Nepal Red Cross, Scout and social institutions associated with medical sector would be put on standby. Educational institutions and their examinations would continue until infection is detected.
It was also decided upon to appeal to the public on behalf of the government to stay alert and decrease public ceremonies and gatherings and parties, said Minister Khatiwada. The meeting was chaired by the committee coordinator Ishwor Pokharel, also Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister.
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