Nepal to halt all domestic and international flights till 14 May amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Kathmandu: Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said on Monday that the domestic flights would be stopped from midnight while all international flights will suspend operations from Thursday as the country tightened the prohibitory orders amid spike in the coronavirus cases.

In an address to the nation on Monday, Oli also appealed to other countries for vaccines, diagnostic equipment, oxygen and other supplies to help combat the pandemic.

"I would like to request our neighbours, friendly countries, and international organisations to help us with vaccines, diagnostic equipment and kits, oxygen therapy, critical care medicines to support our ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic," he said.

Oli said the government has decided to suspend domestic air services from the midnight of 3 till 14 May while international air services operating between Kathmandu and other countries will be shut down from 6 to 14 May.

Oli said that those entering into Nepal from India would be allowed to enter only after conducting antigen tests.

India has donated one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal.

Meanwhile, the authorities have imposed a week long prohibitory orders in the Kathmandu Valley and some other cities since 29 April to contain further spread of corona virus infections.

As of Monday as many as 41 districts have been placed under prohibitory orders. "The ongoing prohibitory order would be implemented strictly to break the chain of the spread of the virus," Oli said as he urged the general public to strictly abide by the health protocols.

"In the current scenario, when over 7,000 are being infected with the virus daily, protection of peoples' lives is our first priority," he said.

He also said that 2.1 million people in Nepal had already been vaccinated of which, 3,70,000 had received a second dose as well.

He also claimed that the government has strengthened its health infrastructure facilities and widened test coverage.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Nepal has given the highest priority to its prevention, control, and treatment, he said.

Oli said that security persons will be mobilized round the clock for implementing public health protocols to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nepal on Monday reported an all-time high of 7,448 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the caseload to 3,43,418, while the death toll rose to 3,362 with 37 fatalities, the health ministry said.