As second wave of pandemic hits Nepal, government sets out new guidelines

The government has imposed new restrictions till May 14 citing the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered by new variant of coronavirus.

The Cabinet meeting held on Monday decided that the spread of new variant of COVID-19 had increased in Nepal and strict health safety measures should be taken to curb the spread.

According to spokesperson of the government and Minister for Communications and Information Technology Parbat Gurung, educational institutions at 40 local levels will remain closed till mid-May and urged all educational institution to conduct educational activities through alternative methods.

Gurung, however, said that the pre-scheduled examinations of schools and colleges and the practical examinations of medical colleges will not be stopped even if the schools are closed.

Other decisions made by Cabinet meeting:

1. Hotels and restaurants can only operate for 12 hours, from 8 am till 8 pm. However, online ordering and delivery of foods will be allowed.

2. Any sport event will have to be organised without audiences.

3. Cinema halls, party palaces, dance bars, gyms, swimming pools, futsal and stadiums to remain close till Baisakh end.

4. Daily worship rituals to be conducted only in temples, mosques, churches and monasteries till mid-May.

5. Not more than 25 people to be allowed in shopping malls at a time. Customers are urged not to touch unnecessary items, keep distance of 2 meters between people, wear mask and sanitise their hands.

6. Public vehicles will have to follow health safety measures strictly and should not board anyone without a mask on. Vehicle operators can provide masks to passengers without one, for amount no more than NRs 10.

7. The Cabinet decision stipulates that no more than 25 people may participate in seminars, meetings, religious and cultural activities including fairs, festivals and weddings. If any event requires party palace, prior approval of the Chief District Officer of individual district must be obtained.

8. No one is allowed to enter into buses, offices or shops without wearing a mask.

9. Masks and sanitizers mandatory on domestic flights while airplanes and baggages must be disinfected after each flight. Check-in waiting rooms and boarding baggage areas should follow public health standards to avoid overcrowding.

10. Nepal Rastra Bank will have to facilitate the implementation of electronic payments in banks and financial institutions to consumers convenience and to prevent overcrowding.