August 12: The Council of Ministers has authorised the chief district officers and local levels to impose lockdown after assessing the Covid-19 situation in that particular area. With this decision, the government has ruled out a nationwide lockdown for the second time.
Speaking at a press briefing organised to make the decision of cabinet public, government spokesperson Yuba Raj Khatiwada informed that the cabinet has authorized the district administration offices and the local units to impose lockdown or prohibitory orders on the basis of risk assessment.
Minister Khatiwada, who holds the portfolio of finance and communication ministries, said that the CDOs of the districts with more than 200 active cases of coronavirus have been delegated the right to impose lockdown if required.
“We haven’t imposed nationwide lockdown. The cabinet decisions have not mentioned the word ‘lockdown’ anywhere. Therefore, the public can be assured that the central government will not impose a lockdown again,” said Minister Khatiwada.
However, the recent cabinet meeting decided to seal Nepal’s international borders till September 16. Earlier, the government had decided to open the borders from August 16. But the date was pushed further a month away due to the risk of infection from people entering the country from abroad, especially India. However, the government has decided to open 10 entry points for emergency visits.
The 10 entry points through land route includes Kakarbhitta (Jhapa), Rani (Morang), Madar (Siraha), Gaur (Rautahat), Birgunj (Parsa), Belhaiya (Rupandehi), Krishnanagar (Kapilbastu), Jamunah (Banke), Gaurifanta (Kailali) and Gaddachauki (Kanchanpur).
Although the government had earlier allowed hotels and restaurants to reopen from July 30, it has reverted its decision after finding people in the eateries without masks and proper precautions. The government has allowed only take-away service from hotels and restaurants.
Likewise, reopening of schools and educational institutions has been delayed until further notice.
The government has also banned all kinds of seminars and gatherings unless it is urgent stating that the disease has been increasing in the country of late.
The Council of Ministers has also directed government and private organisations that deal directly with the public to operate with 50 percent staffers. The remaining 50 percent employees should be allowed to work from home, informed Minister Khatiwada.