High-Level Coordination Committee decided to ease lockdown.

The High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 formed under Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Ishwar Pokharel will decide in a day or two whether or not to ease the lockdown.

Member Secretary of the committee Narayan Prasad Bidari said Pokharel today held discussion with industrialists, construction entrepreneurs, bankers and sectoral experts on what the modality of the lockdown should be in the coming days and weeks. According to Bidari, the high-level committee will consult doctors before taking a call on the lockdown modality to stem the threat of COVID-19. “Most of the people who were consulted today told Pokharel that the lockdown should be gradually eased. I think that will be our agenda in the next meeting,” said Bidari.

Roshan Pokharel, who is the chief specialist at the Ministry of Health and Population told THT that the ministry had recommended strategies for partial reopening on the basis of green, yellow and red zones.

People returning from India line up at the border point, in Birgunj, on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Photo: Ram Sarraf/THT

The ministry has put all the border districts of the Tarai in the red zone, as each of those districts have more than 20 COVID-19 cases. Kathmandu falls in the yellow zone. Being the capital of the country, Kathmandu is at risk of witnessing more positive cases in the coming weeks.

“To minimise the risk of infection in Kathmandu, we have advised the government to keep entry routes shut for some days,” he said.

Roshan Pokharel added that the lockdown could be relaxed in urban centres of mountain and hill districts. “Shops dealing with essential goods could be allowed to open twice a day — morning and evening — while shops dealing with non-essential goods can be allowed to open for certain hours during the day,” he said.

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