Health ministry revises Covid mandatesFace mask optional, proof of Covid-19 vaccination, QR code no longer needed for travellers.
Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population on Friday lifted the mandatory requirement of face masks in public, a provision that was in place since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministry’s move comes amid a declining rate of coronavirus infections and their severity in the country.
In a statement on Friday, the ministry also said that domestic and international travellers no longer need to present proof of vaccination against Covid-19.
The ministry, however, has decided to continue regular surveillance and screening of travellers who may be at a risk of being infected from Covid-19.
“The ministry would like to request all to wear face masks optionally,” the statement read.
Nepalis had started wearing face masks since the early days of the pandemic three years ago when people started to die from coronavirus infection in neighbouring China, where the outbreak originated.
As the pandemic spread further, authorities concerned in Nepal made face masks mandatory in public places.
The decision was enforced strictly during the time of nationwide lockdown and prohibitory order, a time when the first and second waves of the pandemic hit the country.
Not everyone complied with the government’s decision though.
The Health Ministry at the time had also begun a Nepal Mask Campaign with the slogan, “I will wear a mask and encourage others to wear one too.”
But now with the authorities lifting most of the restrictions enforced to control the second wave of the pandemic, daily life has returned to normalcy and most people have already stopped wearing face masks in public places.
The pandemic is still not over though.
On Saturday, four people tested positive for the coronavirus. Active cases in the country currently stand at 18.
As many as 12,031 people have died from Covid-related complications in Nepal, according to the official count.
On May 5, the World Health Organisation declared that Covid-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
On 30 January 2020, the UN health body had declared Covid-19 a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of alarm under international law.