Prime minister hints at extending Covid-19 lockdownDuring a video conference with chief ministers, Oli stresses effective implementation of lockdown.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has once again hinted that the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the contagious coronavirus will be extended.
Oli on Saturday held a four-hour-long video conference with chief ministers of all seven provinces and stressed the importance of the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
According to sources at the prime minister's secretariat, Oli called for stricter and more effective implementation of the lockdown. It was, however, not clear for how long the lockdown, already in its 19th day, will be extended.
Nepal so far has reported nine cases of Covid-19, including one local transmission. No new case has been reported in the past week. However, in neighbouring India, there has been a continuous surge in Covid-19 cases, with the country reporting 7, 529 infections and 242 deaths as of Saturday evening.
Both Nepal and India have been on lockdown for the past two weeks, and the Oli administration is looking at New Delhi’s moves, given Nepal’s porous border with the southern neighbour.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after discussions with chief ministers, decided to extend the lockdown by another two weeks.
During Saturday’s video conference, according to the sources from the prime minister's secretariat, Oli also stressed on implementing stricter measures at the Nepal-India border.
“The infection rate in India is increasing so there is no reason to loosen the lockdown,” said the prime minister. “We don’t have any other option and we cannot afford to be careless in such sensitive times.”
“As cases of Covid-19 are spiking in India, the government is going to extend the ongoing lockdown by another one week or two and an announcement to this effect could be made either on Sunday or Monday,” said a ruling party leader on the condition of anonymity.
Oli on Saturday also ruled out the formation of an all-party mechanism proposed by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the other chair in the ruling Nepal Communist Party, to deal with the epidemic.