A girl washes her hands at the Durbar Square in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, March 23, 2020. Nepal on Monday decided to enforce a national lockdown for a week effective from Tuesday to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Xinhua/Zhou Shengping)
KATHMANDU, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Nepal on Monday decided to enforce a national lockdown for a week effective from Tuesday to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The decision comes as the country reported the second case of COVID-19 involving a 19-year-old girl who returned from France last week and was staying in isolation at a hospital in Kathmandu.
The high-level coordination committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ishwar Pokhrel decided to enforce the lockdown from 6:00 a.m. local time Tuesday for a week, halting the movement of people along with vehicles and airplanes.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai, who is also a member of the high-level coordination committee, told Xinhua on Monday evening that the lockdown will be imposed from 6:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday to 6:00 a.m. local time on March 31.
"The tough measure was necessary to control the coronavirus pandemic," he said.
As per the decision, no one can go out of home except those who have to purchase essential food items and those who should get medical treatment during the lockdown period.
"All the public and private vehicles cannot move in the street," according to a notice, a copy of which was available to Xinhua. "Only the approved vehicles and the vehicles meant for health workers and security agencies can ply on the road."
Likewise, the Nepali government has also suspended all domestic flights except those approved by the government and the flights conducted by security agencies during the period. Earlier, the Nepali government had suspended incoming international flights from March 22 to March 31.
The private sector enterprises will also have to close down most of the industries and give their employees leave during the lockdown period. "Only the industries that produce drugs and health equipments, food, drinking water and milk can operate their factories," the notice said.
The Nepali government also decided to give leave to most of its employees except those who are related to essential services such as health, security, drinking water, milk and communication among others. But the government employees will have to well prepare to return to work when called, as per the decision.