Nepal extends lockdown till May 7, coronavirus cases reach 52

Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, Apr 26 (PTI) Nepal on Sunday extended the nationwide lockdown till May 7 as the novel coronavirus cases rose to 52 after three people tested positive for COVID-19, which has wreaked havoc on the Himalyan nation’s economy.

The government during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli decided to extend the lockdown for 10 more days till May 7.

Earlier, the lockdown was extended till April 27.

The country has been under lockdown since March 23. All government services other than essential have been shut down.

The government on Saturday restricted the operation of international and domestic flights until May 15 as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government decided to extend the lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus pandemic as the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 52 after three more persons, all in 50s tested positive.

Two new cases were reported in Birgunj sub-metropolitan city while the third case emerged in Jhapa district in Eastern Nepal.

Of the total number of COVID-19 infected people, 16 have recovered.

On Saturday, four people, including three Indian nationals, who were residing in local mosques in Birgunj area, have been discharged from the hospital after they were successfully treated, according to the Health Ministry.

Nepal's business sector is expected to suffer a loss of around USD 1.25 billion due to the halting of economic activities during the lockdown, said Umesh Lal Shrestha, Vice President Associate, Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

Nepal's tourism sector is the worst hit by the pandemic. The Hotel Association of Nepal has projected that the hotel business income will decline by 90 per cent in 2020 and has asked the government to adopt special measures to protect the industry. PTI SBP PMS PMS