September 30, 2021 – The Nepali government has decided to reopen all the border crossings for the movement of Nepali and foreign nationals, as the South Asian country has been reporting fewer COVID-19 cases in recent days, a Nepali minister said Wednesday.

The move ended a months-long ban on foreigners visiting Nepal through land routes that was imposed after the second wave of the coronavirus hit the country in April.

Following the cabinet decision on Tuesday evening, “fully vaccinated foreigners can travel in Nepal after being tested negative for coronavirus either through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen tests,” Nepal’s State Minister for Health and Population Umesh Shrestha told Xinhua.

The decision came at a time when new COVID-19 cases in Nepal have come down to less than 2,000 per day in recent days from a record high of 9,317 on May 11.

On Tuesday, the country logged 1,036 new infections and five deaths, taking the total cases to 786,577 and the death toll to 11,053.

Nepal has a total of 35 border crossings with India and two border points with China.

On June 21, Nepal’s Health Ministry imposed a blanket ban on foreign nationals visiting the country through land routes.

Shrestha said the decision to relax the cross-border movement of foreigners was taken to give a boost to the country’s tourism which has been hit hard amid the pandemic. “We can attract vaccinated Indian tourists through the land routes,” he said.

Indian nationals have been allowed into Nepal in the past days despite the blanket ban still in place.

“Due to cross-border family, social and cultural relations, we have been allowing Indian nationals to visit Nepal if they are fully vaccinated or they could produce PCR negative for coronavirus,” said Phanindramani Pokharel, spokesperson for Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs. Enditem

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