Nepal reports commercial disruptions due to closure of land crossings with China as of Feb. 6; enhanced health screenings continue.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 06 Feb 2020 07:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 17 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Enhanced health screenings, border closures
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Longer immigration wait times, flight and commercial disruptions; possible quarantine measures

Summary
As of Feb. 6, Nepal has closed the Kimathanka, Rasuwagadhi, and Tatopani land border crossings with China as a precaution following an increase in reported cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, other areas in China, and several other Asian countries. Enhanced health screening is also underway at land crossings with other nations, especially India, and international airports. Although Nepal has confirmed one imported case as of Feb. 6, officials have not announced any entry restrictions or mandatory quarantine period for travelers.

The border closures are reportedly prompting commercial disruptions and affecting food supply in northern provinces; shortages of other essential items such as fuel are possible. Additional supply chain disruptions are possible in the coming weeks if the closures are prolonged. Himalaya Airlines is gradually suspending all flights to and from mainland China by Feb. 7; other carriers may also curtail services.

Nepal could expand its response in the coming days, particularly if the number of cases in-country increases. Authorities may introduce measures such as compulsory quarantine for travelers from mainland China, or visa restrictions for Chinese nationals. Increased health screenings are likely to result in increased wait times at airports and open land border crossings.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Plan for commercial disruptions and source alternative supplies and shipping routes if operating in Nepal. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings, especially if traveling from China. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Confirm entry requirements, visa validity, and travel reservations before checking out of accommodation.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.