Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Nepal enforces provincial measures as of May 5 to curb spread of COVID-19. Other nationwide restrictions, flight ban, remain.
This alert affects Nepal
This alert began 05 May 2020 06:47 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Preventive restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Movement and travel restrictions, transport and business disruptions, quarantine measures; possible clashes
Starting May 5, Nepal is enforcing expanded measures in some provinces to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Karnali Pradesh or Province 6 will remain sealed through May 12, with no entry or exit allowed. Nepalgunj city in Banke District of Province 5 will be under curfew from 1100 May 5-2359 May 7. The nationwide ban on nonessential business, movement, and travel will continue through at least May 7. The ongoing suspension of international and domestic flights - except for cargo, emergency, and repatriation flights - will continue until at least May 15.
The government has mandated all residents to stay at home and ensure social distancing when going out for essential needs. A ban on all public gatherings as well as the closure of educational institutions, tourist sites, public venues, and entertainment sites continue. Emergency and utility services will remain operational. Although banks and businesses selling essential goods such as fuel, food, and medicines will remain open, panic-buying and associated localized shortages of essential goods may occur in some areas. Officials have advised nonessential public and private entities to utilize telecommuting facilities to the extent possible. Industries related to agriculture and construction, as well as supporting services and supply chains, are permitted to operate with social distancing measures in areas reporting limited COVID-19 spread. All public and private vehicles are limited to essential and emergency services. While transport availability is significantly affected, industries can apply for special permissions to maintain supply delivery. Further control measures are possible in the coming days, especially in the lead up to and during the May 7 Buddha Purnima festival.
Provincial administrations and security personnel are ensuring compliance with the control measures. Sporadic clashes are possible if any group attempts to defy movement and business restrictions. Police are likely to act quickly to control such incidents.
Additional Travel Restrictions
International land borders with India and China remain closed for passenger transit, though cargo movement continues. Although flight and land border restrictions have effectively ended nearly all inbound international travel, Nepal is maintaining a specific ban on travel or transit for passengers from Europe, Gulf Arab countries, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea. Nepal has also suspended on-arrival and electronic visa issuance for all foreign nationals and nonresident Nepalese until further notice. Those wishing to travel to Nepal must contact their local Nepali diplomatic mission for visa approval and submit the results of a swab test demonstrating that the individual is COVID-19 free within seven days prior to the intended travel date. Officials have advised Nepali citizens against nonessential international travel. Health checks are mandatory at all entry points. Officials are advising incoming travelers, regardless of nationality, to self-isolate for two weeks or undergo a 14-day quarantine at home or in a medical facility based on medical screening outcomes.
Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm business appointments, deliveries, and travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Ensure access to essential items; plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.