The operation of international flights to and from Tribhuvan International Airport is being halted from today midnight to May 14 midnight as per the decision made by the government.
The country's sole international airport has scheduled a total of 25 departure flights and 26 arrival flights for Thursday till midnight.
The government on May 2 decided to suspend all international flights except flights between Nepal and India under the air bubble arrangement. The suspension of domestic flights came into effect from May 3 midnight (23:59). However, chartered and rescue flights to and from the country's sole international airport will be allowed to operate on the basis of necessity during this period, according to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
Due to the existing pandemic situation relating to the new variants of COVID 19 across the world, the Council of Ministers made such decisions so as to prevent and control the disease in the country.
There will be only two flights a week, one flight each by Nepal Airlines and Air India under Air Travel Bubble Arrangement between Nepal and India during the period of one week.
As per the new rules set by the authorities, arriving passenger will have to undergo mandatory quarantine at their own cost for 10 days at hotels enlisted by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). The ministry has issued a list of hotels where travellers arriving from India can be kept in quarantine.
The list of hotels includes View Bhrikuti in Godavari; Madhav Hotel in Guhyeshwori; Airport Hotel in Airport; Amadablam Hotel, Readers Inn and Ananda Ashram in Gaushala; and Farm House Resort and A One Resort in Jagati.
As per the notice from the ministry, the concerned hotels will be responsible for transferring the passengers from the airport to the hotel and providing them with meals too. Including airport pick-up, breakfast, lunch and dinner the hotels are allowed to charge only Rs 3,000 from each person for day. The cost is inclusive of value added tax and service tax.
The ministry has also mentioned that Nepal Tourism Board must coordinate with Nepal Airlines Corporation and Air India and facilitate in keeping passengers arriving through these flights in hotel quarantine.
Furthermore, a joint team of director general of the Department of Tourism, chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board and Nepal Police must inspect whether the passengers and the hotels have been following the mandatory health safety protocols. A daily report on the inspections must be submitted to the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and Ministry of Home Affairs.
The ministry has also stated that if any passenger is found violating any health safety protocol then legal action will be initiated against the respective passenger as per the Infectious Diseases Act, 2020 (1964 CE). It has also directed the hotels to inform the local administration if any passenger does not stay in quarantine for the mandatory 10 days and if any hotel fails to do so then charges will be brought against it as per the prevailing laws.
As per new rules, the airline found boarded any PCR Positive passenger shall be liable to bear the cost of hotel quarantine of all passengers aboard that aircraft.
From now on, the passengers are required to furnish a PCR report with photo identification and barcode while arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu.
Nepal witnessed less than 100 cases for most of the days in March but saw a continuous rise of cases since April with over 7,000 cases reported on Sunday for the first time. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) Thursday reported 8,970 new cases of coronavirus infection, the highest daily record.
The government has also issued fortnightly prohibitory order in Kathmandu Valley starting from April 29 while lockdown has also been imposed in different parts of the country.