Nepal suspends all flights amid spike in Covid-19 cases

Nepal has decided to suspend international and domestic flights amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, the country’s communications minister said on Monday.

All domestic flights will be suspended from midnight Monday (1815 GMT), while international flights will be halted from midnight Wednesday, according to minister Parbat Gurung, the Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) reported.

The flights will remain suspended until May 14,” Gurung told dpa. Details have not yet been made public but the decision will not impact chartered and humanitarian flights, according to officials.

This decision comes at a time when the government is struggling to contain the spread of coronavirus cases although several areas in the country remain under strict lockdown. In Kathmandu, hospitals have run out of intensive care space, beds and oxygen, according to media reports.

On Sunday, Nepal logged 7,137 new coronavirus cases as total cases reached 3,36,030. Nepal also shares 1,100 miles of open border with its southern neighbour India, where the situation is currently ravaged by a second wave of Covid-19.

It is unclear how many mountain climbers are already in Nepal and whether the international flights will affect climbers trying to ascend Mount Everest.  According to Nepal’s Department of Tourism, a total of 408 climbers have acquired permits to climb Mount Everest in the ongoing spring season.

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