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Nepal locks down for a week to stem coronavirus spread


Kyodo News

Kathmandu, Nepal  /  Tue, March 24, 2020  /  08:00 pm
Nepal locks down for a week to stem coronavirus spread

Street view at Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nepal (Shutterstock/Constantin Stanciu)

Nepal began a weeklong lockdown on Tuesday to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, with the Himalayan nation's 30 million people ordered to stay at home.

The government's decision to issue a stay-at-home order came hours after Nepal confirmed its second coronavirus case on Monday.

Schools, offices and markets were closed and streets empty in the capital Kathmandu on Tuesday as people and businesses complied with the order. Violations carry penalties.

In a statement, the government said all domestic flights are to stay grounded, and that all private and public vehicles are to stay off the streets during the lockdown.

Read also: Nepal closes Mount Everest for climbers because of coronavirus fears

Citizens are allowed to leave home for purchasing medicine and food. All nonessential services and manufacturing have also been ordered to shut down.

The second virus case was found in a 19-year-old Nepali student who arrived in Kathmandu from France via Qatar on March 17. She is currently isolated at a hospital.

Nepal reported its first case in January -- a Nepali man who had been studying in Wuhan, at the center of the virus outbreak in China. He has since recovered.

On Monday morning, Nepal sealed its land borders with India and China for a week to all traffic except for cargo trucks. All international flights have already been suspended.