Nepal will suspend domestic commercial flights at midnight on Monday and ban all commercial flights originating from India, Brazil and South Africa from midnight Wednesday until May 14, Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi said Sunday.
As India continues to grapple with an unrelenting second wave of Covid-19, its neighbor Nepal is seeing its own surge in case numbers, prompting the Nepali government to seal the land border shared by the two countries.
The tiny South Asian nation on Sunday registered 7,137 new coronavirus infections — the highest single-day rise in infections since the pandemic began, according to the Nepal Health Ministry. Twenty-seven new virus-related deaths were also reported.
Nepal had seen case numbers begin to fall in February, with newly identified cases hovering between 50 to 100 each day. But infections began soaring in mid-April, about the same time India’s second wave began. New cases now number in the thousands each day, and health authorities have identified cases involving a variant of the coronavirus found in India.
Nepal has limited health care infrastructure and access to life-saving resources, raising fears it is ill-equipped to deal with a massive outbreak like the one ravaging India. On Thursday, Nepali authorities imposed a two-week lockdown in the capital, Kathmandu, in efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
This post has been updated to reflect the timeline of events.