Nepal intensifies lockdown near India border after two India returnees test positive for coronavirus

PTI Kathmandu, , Nepal Apr 05, 2020, 07.10 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( PTI )

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The government has intensified security in western Nepal's Kailali and Kanchanpur districts after the two India returnees found to be infected with coronavirus during tests on Saturday, officials said.

Nepal government on Sunday intensified lockdown in western districts bordering India after two people who returned from India tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of cases to nine.

The government has intensified security in western Nepal's Kailali and Kanchanpur districts after the two India returnees found to be infected with coronavirus during tests on Saturday, officials said.

Rapid tests will be conducted in these two districts and Baglung, situated in North-West Nepal, which have been identified as hotspots. The government will soon dispatch Rapid diagnostic test teams. In the wake of growing fear of coronavirus spread, the testing of suspected infected persons have increased to 1,529.

The government has tightened restrictions during the lockdown imposed till April 7.

A Cabinet meeting held on Saturday decided to stop citizens from moving from one local unit to another and from one district to another, said government spokesperson and Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada.

The government's decision came as the country confirmed three new coronavirus cases in a single day.

Among the three cases, one is a 34-year-old woman, who happened to be the first COVID-19 patient in the country who got internally transmitted with the disease. Two others who tested positive had recently returned from India.

The country's health officials have said this incident marks Nepal's entry to the second stage of coronavirus infection, suggesting more restrictive measures.

However, the government has not yet made any decision on whether to extend the lockdown which will be lifted after mid-night of April 7.

Minister Khatiwada said the Cabinet will decide whether to extend the lockdown in its next meeting. Around 780 foreign tourists, mostly from European countries, stranded in the Himalyan country due to the coronavirus pandemic, have been evacuated in special flights.

The foreigners were evacuated in four different chartered flights arranged by different countries and their diplomatic missions in Nepal, according to officials.