The COVID-19 Control and Management High-Level Committee on Tuesday had evaluated whether the lockdown could be partially lifted in some cities and districts, but Prime Minister K P Oli reportedly disagreed to have a red-orange-green designation like in India.
He appears to have decided to err on the side of caution after a community outbreak was detected in Nepalganj.
The security agencies are reported to have warned that even partial easing may make it more difficult for them to control the movement of people. MPs and officials are exerting political pressure to get permits to allow their people to move around the country.
Despite the lockdown, a total of 700 vehicles left Kathmandu and 500 entered the Valley on average every day last week. But on Monday and Tuesday, police forced back 139 vehicles trying to enter Kathmandu, and on Wednesday only ambulances and cargo trucks carrying essential products were allowed in.
India has extended its lockdown till 17 May, after a sharp rise in the number of positive cases and fatalities. Tuesday saw 111 COVID-19 deaths – the second consecutive day with more than 100 fatalities. Gujarat and Maharastra showed the steepest rises in positives, and there were 2,680 new cases detected nationwide. The total number of deaths in India is nearly 1,700 with 50,000 cases.
In Tuesday’s meeting, Prime Minister Oli is reported to have cited the rise in cases in India as the reason why the lockdown should be maintained.