In the quest of fighting the global pandemic, COVID-19, Government of Nepal has made various decisions regarding lockdown and its modalities at different stages owing to the situation prevalent in different parts of Nepal. Currently, the lockdown has been lifted up but in these four months, government of Nepal handled the COVID-19 situation with the following major decisions:
Nationwide Lockdown March 24, 2020
Amid concerns overgrowth of COVID 19 infected people, Government of Nepal decided to impose national wide lockdown for a week till 31st March and the movement of people from their home except for emergencies was strictly restricted.
Extension of Lockdown
March 28,2020: Government decided to extend lockdown with no changes in modality for another week.
April 1,2020: Government decided to extend lockdown till April 7 and continue the ban on all domestic and international flights till 15 April.
April 6, 2020: Government decided to extend lockdown till April 15.
April 15, 2020: Government decided to extend lockdown till May 7 with no other major decisions.
April 27, 2020: Issuing a notification in Nepal Gazette on April 27, government stated that the period of lockdown shall be considered as public holiday for the government officials.
May 6, 2020: For the 6th time, Government decided to extend the lockdown till 18 May, but this time with certain relaxation. It had decided to partially open manufacturing, industries and banking sectors with certain restrictions on distancing and health monitoring of workers. Industries relating to food production and processing, dairies, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment manufacturers, water supply, brick kilns, livestock and fisheries, food industries, sugar, LPG, noodles industries, bakeries, poultry, dairy, and processing of other agricultural products were allowed to run. Other non- food relating industries, for e.g., cement, paint was allowed to make production but with restriction of up to 10 workers in one place at a time and health related obligations. However, no positive decisions were made relating to national and international flights.
May 17, 2020: The government decided to extend the nationwide lockdown until June 2. With rise of number of death of people, a high-level committee for the prevention and control of COVID-19 recommended to the government to continue the lockdown at least for 15 days considering the vulnerability of lifting restrictions.
May 28, 2020: In an attempt of protection constitutional and legal rights of individual, the Supreme Court of Nepal ruled that the period of lockdown shall be considered zero period for those whose deadline for filing or contesting cases or presenting before court proceedings had lapsed due to Lockdown.
June 2, 2020: Government decided to continue the lockdown with no further changes in modality and openings till 14 June.
June 10, 2020: The cabinet decided to ease lockdown bringing some change in the modality of lockdown in an attempt to gradually resume economic activities. Following services were allowed however social distance of 2 meters should be maintained, masks should be used, hands should be washed with soap time to time or use sanitizer as per public health standard and safety standard:
- All medical services and hospitals were allowed to open with all safety measures.
- All kinds of agriculture and livestock business (every chain from production to sales and distribution),
- Industry, business, shops and department stores,
- All kinds of transportation,
- Cycle and Motorcycle (only rider allowed),
- In case of Kathmandu valley, private vehicles only within the valley and in case of other districts, private vehicles only within such districts on the basis of odd even number
- Packing and take away services of restaurants, etc
(To be implemented from 15 June 2020)
- Bank and financial institutions, cooperatives and insurance services,
- Government offices, office of educational institutions, offices of non-governmental and private sectors and bank and financial institutions (operate in two shifts: 8 am to 1 pm and 1 pm to 6 pm),
- Transport vehicles transporting employees of government and private service providers (used as per odd even system).
With the increment in people’s movement with easing lockdown, government, on 19th June decided to tighten restrictions again with a night-time curfew between 10PM-5AM. Traffic and movement reached at peak when government allowed partial re-opening of government and private services, and private vehicles in odd-even basis.
June 29, 2020: The Government of Nepal decided to extend the ongoing lockdown, in its current form.
End of Lockdown
On July 21 2020, the government announced the end of 4 months long lockdown however with the urge of maintaining social distance, using mask and sanitizers.
The end of lockdown means there is no restrictions on the private vehicles on odd-even basis, no two-shift system in government offices, office of educational institutions, offices of non-governmental and private sectors and bank and financial institutions.
Packing and take away services from restaurants, travel, trekking and tourism business are to open from July 30, 2020.
Inter district movement of private and public vehicles, International and domestic flight, International sports training and sports, Admission of students and resumption of exams are to open from August 17, 2020.
The sectors that still remains close are:
- Educational institutions, tuition centers and training centers,
- Seminars, meetings, trainings, Exhibitions, Jatras, functions and gatherings
- Public library, museums, zoo,
- Swimming pool, health club, saloon, beauty parlor,
- Cinema hall, party palace, dance bar, entertainment places,
- Sports to be played in group and playgrounds,
There still is a threat of COVID 19 and with the end of lockdown, the risk of spread of COVID 19 has only increased and the government is to take necessary decision in near future owing to the situation.