Authorities in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley have decided to lift all the restrictive measures against public and private transportation and allow more operation hours for shops while extending the ongoing lockdown for 10 more days to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We decided to relax the prohibitory orders further as the Covid-19 cases didn’t rise significantly even after past relaxation,” Dhundi Prasad Niraula, chief district officer of Lalitpur, one of the three districts in the valley, told Xinhua news agency on Sunday.
“The relaxation is also aimed at addressing the livelihood problem of many people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ongoing lockdown in place in the valley ever since April 29 will be extended from 6-15 July, according to the decision of the authorities.
Earlier, the lockdown was extended till 5 July by allowing public and private vehicles to operate under odd-even rules.
Nepal on Sunday reported 1,042 new Covid-19 cases, and over the last week daily cases had remained below 2,000 amid a second wave of the coronavirus that hit the country in April, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.
With the latest relaxation, all public and private vehicles can operate freely by following the health protocols.
As per the earlier decision, public vehicles with over 25 seats could ply on the road in the Kathmandu Valley under odd-even rules.
Under the new rules, all the shops can open from early morning to 6 p.m., while pharmacies can operate 24 hours a day.
The previous rules allow department stores, shopping malls, and shops handling garment, footwear, cosmetics, utensils, kitchenware, electronic goods, among others, to open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Likewise, for the first time since the lockdown was imposed in late April, in-person meetings can be organised with a maximum of 25 participants by keeping a social distance.
And exams for schools, colleges and various agencies can be held with no more than 25 persons in a room, though schools and colleges, health clubs, party palaces, theatres, salons, libraries and zoos will remain closed along with rallies and sporting events.