Till present, Nepal stands in the list of least affected countries globally with just one confirmed case. It was found in one Nepali student who landed Nepal on 5th January from Wuhan and has already recovered. And, if we talk about the suspected case then, it is 10 but we’re lucky, no confirmed cases are found other than one(from January 5 till present).
Also, on February 16, 175 Nepalese students were evacuated from Hubei province in China and were monitored at the quarantine zone in Kharipati, Bhaktapur. After 14 days, they were back to home after the negative tests of COVID-19 virus.
On March 2, they had suspected 4 people for COVID-19 and luckily the tests have gone negative.
So, till today(9th March 2020), we’ve just the single confirmed case and have already been treated well and recovered. The Government is also becoming very active and doing things very seriously and taking strict actions regarding COVID-19.
Steps by the government:
For a week, the Nepal Government is becoming very serious regarding the issue of Coronavirus and spreading the high amount of awareness among Nepali citizens. Also, they have temporarily suspended on arrival visas to Nepal for five different countries which have been highly affected by COVID-19 virus (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Japan) and undertake action from 10 March 2020. However, they can issue visas from the Nepal mission situated in their countries.
Also, the temperature screening(via thermal cameras) and self-reporting have already been implemented at Tribhuvan International Airport(the only international Nepal airport). They have an ambulance on standby right there in order to carry the patient immediately if they found any suspected cases. Similarly, they’ve restricted the flights from China so that the risk of spreads of COVID-19 is highly minimized.
If anyone gets suspected with Coronavirus while entering the country via TIA, they are kept into quarantine for 14 days for compulsory and will be released only if the tests come negative for COVID-19.
As Nepal shares the border with two huge countries, it’s important to keep an eye not only towards the air route but also equally towards the land route as well. So, they’ve already closed the border point of Tatopani(the famous land routes to trade with China) since January 31, 2020, due to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus. And, as there is an open border between Nepal and India, now they are being strict on people(Indians or third countries nationals) entering the country via land routes through India due to the high influence of COVID-19. Now, they’ve fixed some border points only through which they’re allowed to enter Nepal. Also, they’ll be getting their visas(only for third nationals as the visa is free for Indians) only after their health check-up(check-up for Indian nationals too) through either the border points of Raxaul, Sunauli, Karkarvitta, Jogabani, Gaddachauki and Jamunah (Nepalgunj).
VNY 2020 was also postponed :
Also, the government was planning to celebrate the year 2020 as Visit Nepal year but now, due to the high risk of novel COVID-19, they’ve suspended all the promotional events and activities related to Visit Nepal 2020. Now, they’ve started putting hands together for spreading awareness and safety regarding the outbreak of novel Coronavirus.
Before the outbreak of Covid-19 in late December 2019, the expectation for tourism growth and success of #VisitNepal2020 was very high and the scenario was also positive. But the outbreak makes the uncertainty in the success of the fest VNY2020. Even the expectation was high until mid-February because of the no cases of Corona in Nepal. But the recent publication of the World Health Organization (WHO) almost kills the hopes of every tourism industry in Nepal. According to the publication of WHO, Nepal is among those nations where the possible impact of Novel Corona is very high and the condition may be worst.
Till the last weeks, the government of Nepal and the tourism department had to try to promote Nepal as the corona free nation to influence the tourist to visit Nepal. But the uncontrollable condition of novel corona and its more cases outside the china which becoming worst makes the condition to stop every Visit Nepal Year 2020 promote and publicity programs.
The Government of Nepal (GON) discussed the issue and the VISIT NEPAL YEAR 2020. The Cabinet of the ministry has decided to defer all the promotion and the worldwide VNY2020 Programs. The cabinet is also planning and preparing to postpone the fest to 2022.
The promotional campaigns and fairs in the purpose of attracting more than 2 million foreign tourists (almost double of last year) are all canceled. Because of the situation and the worst condition due to Novel CoronaVirus, the Government of Nepal is planning to introduce measures to promote domestic tourism. The Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MOTCA) Yogesh Bhattarai said that they are postponing the international tourism promotion for the time being and will introduce measures to promote domestic tourism.
All the flights between China and Nepal are closed and suspended which almost stop any arrivals of Chinese Tourists. The Nepalese tourism experts and authorities are also saying that it’s not a time for counting the numbers of tourists visiting Nepal but it’s a time to express solidarity that is affected by this epidemic. It is time to walk together to fight back the threat of the outbreak.
Recently, the government of Nepal has made restrictions in a mass gathering- celebrations, meetings and so on. It has suspended the on-arrival visa for five most coronavirus affected countries- Japan, China, Korea, Italy, and Iran to stop the spreading of this disease. It is planning to reduce international flights to the corona-affected countries and has urged Nepali travelers not to travel outside of the country unless it is really necessary.
However, it can be assumed that the Holi festival celebration might be continued amid coronavirus fear in Nepal/Kathmandu. But, it should be done with specific attention that minimizes the risk of getting a virus in the crowd:-
- You should wear a mask and hand gloves during the celebration
- Better to enjoy in a small group, if possible with your relatives and friends only
- Do not use the underground water that can be contaminated
- Wash your hand, clothes, and body after the celebration well
Where does Nepal stand?
Fig: Data of confirmed and death cases in various countries including Nepal