Nepal suspends issuance of trekking permits for foreign trekkers

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 20, 2020
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KATHMANDU, March 20 (Xinhua) -- With the increasing spread of COVID-19 infection across the world including in South Asia, Nepal government has suspended issuing trekking permits for foreigners from Friday.

Issuing a statement Friday, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the country's main tourism promotion body, informed that it has stopped the issuance of Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) Card for foreign trekkers.

"COVID-19 has turned out to be a global pandemic. At this moment of crisis and following the series of decisions of government to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 in Nepal, Nepal Tourism Board has decided to suspend issuance of TIMS Card for the trekkers for various trekking areas in Nepal," the statement read.

The suspension will be effective from 12pm local time Friday until further notice.

"We hope that our decision will further help the government to prevent the possible spread of global pandemic in Nepal," Dhananjay Regmi, head of NTB, told Xinhua.

It is required for the foreign trekkers to receive TIMS Issuance Card through NTB counters in Kathmandu or branch offices in other areas before they embark on any trekking journey across Nepal.

Since the government has already halted all the mountaineering expeditions of this season, with the latest decision, there won't be any trekking activity as well. Spring is the major season for trekking and mountaineering in the Himalayas that attract thousands of foreigners from March to May.

Earlier this week, the Nepal government banned all passengers entering Nepal from Europe, West Asia, Gulf and countries like Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, in addition to the suspension of all on-arrival visas.

The ban on arrivals will come into effect from Friday midnight to April 15.

Many foreign tourists entered Nepal in March and if they are unable to return to their country, Nepal government has decided to extend their visas as per the existing law.

Nepal has only reported a single case of the novel coronavirus of a student in January. The patient has recovered and was discharged. As of March 19, Nepal has tested 545 samples of which all are negative, according to the Ministry of Health and Population. Enditem

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