Nepal’s lockdown 2.0, new Covid curbs on travelHere’s what you need to know about the new rules, the kind of tests you’ll need to take, how to quarantine, and who’s exempt.
All lockdown restrictions will go into effect at 6 am on Thursday (April 29) and will remain in place until May 13, as per the cabinet’s decision on April 26. Parbat Gurung, Minister of Communication and Information Technology, made the announcement on Wednesday through a press briefing.
Nepal has made quarantine mandatory for everyone. Here’s what you need to know about the new rules, the kind of tests you’ll need to take, how to quarantine, and who’s exempt.
Are you a foreigner travelling to Nepal?
If you are a foreigner flying into the Kathmandu Valley, you are subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine in your hotel upon arrival. A negative PCR test result obtained within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin is required for entry into Nepal. In addition, foreigners have to submit proof of hotel booking to go into quarantine in Nepal.
Only Indian citizens are allowed to enter Nepal overland through the southern border points. Nepal and India share an open border of about 1,880 km.
Similarly, only Chinese nationals are allowed to enter Nepal through the northern border points by land.
Last month, Nepal enforced new travel rules removing the quarantine requirement for foreign tourists in a bid to boost arrivals during the spring season, which is the only time foreigners are allowed to climb the 8,848.86-metre tall Mt Everest.
What's the provision for Nepalis?
If you are a Nepali citizen, you need to submit a negative Covid-19 test report taken within 72 hours prior to your departure for Nepal. Nepali citizens are required to remain in hotel or home quarantine for 10 days.
Nepalis entering the country from India through land routes are exempt from PCR test report requirements, but they have to spend 10 days in home quarantine under the supervision of the local authority.
What’s the provision for Indian citizens entering Nepal by land?
Indian citizens are required to submit a negative PCR test report taken within 72 hours before departure for Nepal, including documents showing hotel reservation for 10 days of quarantine.
They are required to obtain permission from the local administration to enter Nepal.
What are the provisions for Chinese nationals?
Chinese tourists entering Nepal by land through the northern border points have to show their visa, a negative PCR test report taken within 72 hours before their departure, and documents showing hotel reservation for 10 days to go into quarantine.
What is transit facility and why has it been banned?
Foreign tourists, including Indian nationals, are not allowed to take onward connections from Nepal. The restriction came into effect at midnight on Wednesday (April 28), the Department of Immigration of the Home Ministry said. However, tourists who entered Nepal before April 28 to fly to third countries are allowed to take onward connections.
An increasing number of Indians have been using Kathmandu as a transit point to go to third countries after they banned direct flights from India which is grappling with a second wave of Covid-19.
India has created an air bubble arrangement with Nepal. Currently, only Air India and Nepal Airlines are permitted to operate flights between Delhi and Kathmandu.
What about road transport?
Public and private vehicles will not be allowed on the roads. Private passenger transport such as taxis are permitted to run only for emergency or essential services. Government vehicles and vehicles of public service offices are allowed on the roads with a pass from the concerned ministries or departments.
How to reach the airport?
Those holding air tickets, passports and visas will receive assistance to go to the airport, according to the decision taken by the chief district officers of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts. So far, there is confusion over what the facilitating measures are.
According to Raj Kumar Chettri, spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, they have recommended to the Tourism Ministry to mobilise Sajha buses to provide transport to the airport. “We have suggested mobilising Sajha’s buses at major points like Maharajgunj, Kalanki, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur,” he said. “But the ministry is yet to reach a decision.”
The civil aviation body has also requested all three districts to allow buses to pick up and drop passengers going to and coming from the airport.