India to restrict travel to Nepal
India will soon impose travel restrictions in Nepal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday, as the Himalayan nation braces for a possible pandemic.
In a series of statements, Singh announced the imposition of travel restrictions to the Kathmandu Valley, where Nepal is located.
The move comes after Nepal declared a state of emergency to deal with the threat of an outbreak of the coronavirus.
The government has warned the region is at high risk of spreading the disease.
The announcement came on the eve of the nation’s annual Independence Day celebrations.
In the statement, the Prime Minister said the ban on travel to the Himalayas was aimed at controlling the spread of the virus in the country.
The restrictions are in line with the recommendations of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he said.
Nepal’s government is currently in the process of identifying people infected with the coronivirus in a bid to determine if they can be repatriated to the country, he said in a separate statement.
India has taken up the issue with the United States, but US officials have said they want to see details on the plans before imposing any travel restrictions.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US would consider imposing travel restrictions on Nepal in response to the coronovirus pandemic, which has already claimed more than 3,000 lives.
While India has declared a national state of alert in Kathmandi and the capital city, the region remains largely unthreatened.
The country has declared that Nepal will remain under a lockdown until at least mid-February.