Nepal will suspend domestic commercial flights at midnight on Monday and ban all commercial flights from India, Brazil and South Africa from midnight Wednesday through May 14, Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi said on Sunday.
While India continues to grapple with a relentless second wave of Covid-19, its neighbor Nepal is seeing its own surge in the number of cases, prompting the Nepalese government to seal the land border shared by the two countries.
The tiny South Asian nation registered 7,137 new coronavirus infections on Sunday – the highest increase in infections in a day since the pandemic began, according to the Nepalese Ministry of Health. 27 new virus-related deaths have also been reported.
In Nepal, case numbers fell in February and the newly identified cases ranged from 50 to 100 daily. But infections began to rise in mid-April, around the time India’s second wave began. There are now thousands of new cases every day, and health officials have identified cases involving a variant of the coronavirus found in India.
Nepal has limited health infrastructure and access to life-saving resources, raising fears that it will not be able to cope with a massive outbreak like the one in India. On Thursday, the Nepalese authorities imposed a two-week lockdown on the capital, Kathmandu, to curb the spread of Covid-19.
This post has been updated to reflect the timeline of events.