The Nepal government has planned to lift the ongoing suspension on domestic and international flights starting from August as the Himalayan country has witnessed a drop in new COVID-19 cases, a senior official said on Friday. "The Ministry on Thursday decided to recommend COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre for lifting the suspension of domestic flights from August 5 and international flights from August 17," Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, told Xinhua news agency.
The COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokharel was formed to coordinate efforts against the pandemic. Based on the recommendation of this centre, the cabinet will decide whether to lift the suspension order.
Both domestic and international flights have remained suspended in Nepal since March 22, except chartered flights for humanitarian purpose or delivery of medical goods. Although the Nepali government decided on July 10 to relax the lockdown, allowing the most of the economic activities to resume, flight services, schools and theatres have remained suspended.
Nepal on Thursday reported 167 new COVID-19 cases in a day, a sharp drop from the record high 740 cases on July 3 as the total cases stood at 17,344. Due to COVID-19, Nepal's tourism sector is estimated to lose around $332 million by July 21, with an extended lockdown imposed since March 24, according to the Ministry.