Kathmandu Valley lockdown till 12 May


As Covid-19 cases continue their record-breaking rise every day, the three district chiefs of Kathmandu Valley agreed on Tuesday to extend the lockdown announced on 29 April for two weeks till 12 May.

The decision was taken with further restrictions on movement, and people not allowed to be on the roads unless for funerals or hospital treatment. Market-times have also been shortened to 7-9AM only.

All domestic flights in Nepal have been suspended, although helicopter rescues and some charter flights were allowed to operate on Tuesday.

From Wednesday midnight, the government has also suspended all international flights till 14 May, allowing only two flights a week between Kathmandu and Delhi.

This last decision has come under intense criticism on Nepal's cybersphere, with many ridiculing the rationale for continuing flights to the world's biggest coronavirus hotspot while stopping flights to the rest of the world.

Others have railed against the decision to stop outbound flights, even before other countries have banned flights from Nepal. So far, only Hong Kong and Singapore have stopped direct flights from Kathmandu. Airlines have pleaded with the government to at least allow them to bring planes in empty to fly out passengers booked on flights out of Kathmandu.

Nepal recorded 7,587 new Covid-19 cases-- the highest so far in the pandemic--from 16,702PCR tests on Tuesday. There were 55 fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally for Covid-19 deaths to 3417. Altogether 1775 people recovered from the disease on Tuesday, with the number of active cases reaching almost 60,000 nationwide.

Meanwhile, in Kathmandu the city's only electric crematorium at Pashupati that had been designated for Covid-19 patients could not handle bodies even while running round the clock. It has had to arrange pyres for coronavirus dead on the banks of the Bagmati.

The crematorium can only take 16 funerals a day, and the number of daily fatalities in Kathmandu have been 20 every day for the past week. In addition, one of the two incinerators at the crematory has broken down.

Families of the dead are not allowed inside, and have to watch the group cremation from the other side of the Bagmati River, and often cannot tell which one is the body of their loved ones.

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