India lockdown extension to impact Nepal

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s widely expected announcement of an extension by 19 more days of the nationwide lockdown is expected to impact Nepal in multiple ways.

Modi went live on television on Tuesday morning to say that the lockdown was now extended till 3 May. The unprecedented lockdown affecting 1.3 billion people was first announced on 25 March and was to have ended on Tuesday. 

In Nepal, the lockdown is on till Wednesday, but is now also likely to be extended. Hundreds of thousands of Nepalis who work in India have been affected by India’s lockdown, and many of them who were trying to return home have been stopped at the border.

The Nepal Government decided to extend the lockdown by 12 days until 27 April. Photo: PMO

In addition, most of Nepal’s food, fuel and other essential imports are from India, or from third countries via India. Fuel and food trucks have been allowed to cross the border, the lockdown extension could lead to a worsening of food shortages.

This was Modi’s fourth address to the nation in a month, and he said the COVID-19 spread was now coming under control, but he said he was taking the advice of public health experts to extend the lockdown.

Modi had held a conference call with Chief Ministers of India’s states, in which the leaders of 13 state with a population of 780 million had agreed to close down for the whole of April.

India has so far detected 10,248 cases of which 358 people have died, and 1,181 have recovered. There were 1,248 new cases detected on Monday alone.