February 27: Nepal’s northern border with China, which has remained closed since a month following the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China, is unlikely to open anytime soon.
Government authorities have said they are not in a hurry to open the border as the epidemic has not been fully contained in China.
Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi, the two major customs point between Nepal and China, have remained shut since January 29 to prevent further spreading of the deadly virus.
More than 500 containers of goods ordered by Nepali importers have remained stuck across the border in Kerung. Those containers contain goods worth Rs 3 billion.
High-ranking government officials hand held a meeting earlier this week to discuss about resuming trade from the border point. The meeting chaired by secretaries of the finance, home, health and industry ministries concluded that it is not safe to reopen the border points unless they have modern equipment and facilities to screen the visitors.
As the government currently lacks equipment to screen the people coming from China, the authorities have decided not to reopen the border for the time being, informed Joint Secretary Uttar Kumar Khatri of the finance ministry.
He said that the government’s priority at the moment is protecting its citizens from the deadly virus rather than resuming trade.
“The fear of infection has not yet subsided. Keeping in consideration the national security, it seems likely that the resumption of trade from the border will take some more time,” added Khatri.
According to him, the government will ease the restriction once the threat level decreases.