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Nepal extends flight ban till 31 May 2021

Lockdown also extended by two weeks, made stricter

Even as the Covid-19 surge devastates Nepal, the government has extended restrictions of international air travel till 31 May, and lengthened the lockdown in Kathmandu Valley and other districts by two more weeks.

The move comes as the number of new daily Covid-19 cases in Nepal stays above 9,000,  with hospitals across the country stopping admits because of serious shortages of beds with oxygen and patients sleeping on floors and verandahs. They report shortages of masks, PPE and essential medicines as well.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) wrote to all international carriers serving Nepal not to take any new bookings ‘till further advice, and to refund or extend the travel date as required by passengers’.

The notice does not include domestic airlines, but sources said they would also remain grounded until the lockdown in Kathmandu and other cities remain in effect. A meeting of the Chief District Officers of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur decided to extend the lockdown in the Valley for two more weeks, and announced new complete bans on marriages and other ceremonies.

Only two flights a week between Kathmandu and New Delhi are allowed under the India-Nepal air bubble agreement by carriers of the two countries, and some cargo charters and rescue flights are also permitted.

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