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Is Nepal Safe to Travel? (COVID 19 Update)

The spread of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China has been noted with concern by Nepal. To study and analyze the negative effects of 2019-nCoV, a meeting was held recently by the Ministry of Health and Population in the presence of Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister of Nepal. The meeting called for coordination among stakeholders for high precaution against nCoV.

Following the same, a meeting was called among major tourism stakeholders by Hon’ble Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai on Jan. 27, 2020, to discuss further on the impact of 2019-nCoV on the ongoing national tourism campaign Visit Nepal 2020; particularly with regard to precautions to be taken, awareness generation among general public, and coordination to mitigate of the impact of 2019-nCoV.

As per the meeting, Nepal is safe from the spread of this epidemic, but is on high alert and has taken all necessary precautions to prevent 2019-nCoV infection among tourists and the general public. It was also recommended that the following actions be taken immediately as safety measures for tourists and the general public against 2019-nCoV :

An area shall be set aside for Dedicated Health Check Desk at entry points including the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and coordination for the facilitation of the same for tourists shall be done.

Tourists arriving from China, who show symptoms of infection by 2019-nCoV, shall be transferred to the designated health center immediately by the concerned hotel, travel/ trekking agency.

The announcement shall be made in all aircraft landing at TIA requesting passengers to ensure screening for 2019-nCoV infection at the Health Check Desk upon arrival. Similarly, CAAN shall immediately make effective Aircraft Disinfection of all aircraft before landing at TIA, as per WHO guidelines.

  • Private sector tourism service providers shall be requested to ensure that all officials and employees are updated and informed about 2019-nCoV risks and precautionary measures be taken.
  • Guidelines and notice regarding health and safety issues related to 2019-nCoV published by the Ministry of Health and Population shall be thoroughly followed.
  • High precaution and facilitation for screening shall be conducted on the northern border of Nepal and China like Rasuwa, Yarina and others.
  • Adherence to the use of masks, gloves and other necessary items against 2019-nCoV shall be observed by officials at TIA.
  • Adherence to precautionary measures against 2019-nCoV in popular destinations of Nepal like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, and Lumbini shall be observed.
  • Awareness programs and activities shall be conducted to disseminate information about mitigating the risks of 2019-nCoV for travelers and the general public.
  • Adherence to precautionary measures against 2019-nCoV in popular religious and cultural sites shall be observed.
  • Collection of posters, pamphlets and other information materials regarding 2019-nCoV released by the Ministry of Health and Population for distribution among the private sector tourism industry and display at visible spots by hotels, trekking/ travel companies.

The meeting was attended by the Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Mr. Kedar Bahadur Adhikari and high-level officials from the Ministry, Department of Tourism and Nepal Tourism Board. Officials and representatives from Nepal’s private sector tourism industry: Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA), and representatives from other tourism organizations, were also present at the meeting.

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