Nepal will suspend domestic commercial flights at midnight Monday and will ban all commercial flights from India, Brazil and South Africa from midnight Wednesday to May 14, Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi said on Sunday.
As India continues to battle a relentless second wave of Covid-19, neighbor Nepal is seeing its own increase in the number of cases, prompting the Nepalese government to seal the land border shared by the two countries.
The small South Asian nation recorded 7,137 new coronavirus infections on Sunday – the largest single-day increase in infections since the start of the pandemic, according to Nepal’s health ministry. Twenty-seven new deaths linked to the virus have also been reported.
Nepal saw the number of cases start to decline in February, with newly identified cases hovering between 50 and 100 each day. But infections started to skyrocket in mid-April, around the same time India’s second wave began. New cases now number in the thousands every day and health authorities have identified cases involving a variant of the coronavirus found in India.
Nepal has limited healthcare infrastructure and access to vital resources, raising fears that it is ill-equipped to deal with a massive epidemic like the one ravaging India. Nepalese authorities on Thursday imposed a two-week lockdown in the capital, Kathmandu, in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.
This post has been updated to reflect the timeline of events.