COVID-19 Status in Nepal
The first case of Corona virus infection was seen in a student who returned on 23rd January 2020 from Wuhan, China, which is the epicenter of this disease. When the second case was confirmed on 23 March 2020, the Government of Nepal declared nationwide lockdown in order to stem the spread of COVID-19. Up to the date, there are 256 confirmed cases and 35 recovered cases in Nepal. Fortunately, there hasn’t been a single death recorded due to this disease.
Talking about the nature of Corona virus cases, majority of the cases are seen in those Nepalese who have come to Nepal from the foreign land after being infected. Recently, even the people, who have been in contact with those Corona virus infected ones, have also developed this disease. Until now, there are 22 districts belonging to 6 provinces of Nepal with the records of COVID-19 infection.
The infected districts are the territories sharing their borders with India. In the recent days, India has been one of the most affected nations by this novel coronavirus. There is an open border system between Nepal and India, so, many of the people travel from one country to another without any permit like visa and passport. Although the major entrances are secured by the security forces of the Nepal Government, there are many such entrances where there is no presence of such check posts at all.
The districts of the Hilly region and the Mountain region have low or no cases of this pandemic till now. Yes, the first and second cases of the coronavirus infection were noticed in Kathmandu Valley. However, the spread of this disease was under grip as the suspects were kept under observation or quarantine for the specified time. The initiatives of the health and administrative authorities have been very successful and effective in identifying the corona infected people and tracing the ones having contacted with them.
Less Impacts of COVID-19 in Nepal
Nepal shares its border with China, the country where the nCoV was first developed as a new type of pneumonia. In addition, there is a direct connection of Nepal with Wuhan City of Hubei Province. Nepal imports many of the electronic gadgets and garment products from Hubei Province of China. Hundreds of students go to Wuhan for abroad studies, especially for MBBS every year.
After the outbreak of COVID-19, Nepal rescued 175 Nepalese among whom 170 were the students on 16th February 2020. They were kept under quarantine for 14 days and sent to home when no symptoms of this virus were noticed in them. Considering the limited medical efficiency of Nepal, no kind of unexpected result was seen although 175 Nepalese citizens were brought from Wuhan.
The impacts of COVID-19 are noticed very less in Nepal even though there is close proximity between Nepal and China. There are many reasons: medical, social, administrative and personal; responsible for the less impacts of this pandemic in the country. Some of the major reasons can be listed as below:
- Immunity of the Nepalese people
- Food habits
- Hygiene and lifestyle
- Less industrial pollution
- The nationwide lockdown with the suspension of air and land transportation resulting in the ban on domestic movement as well
- Cultural aspects of greeting (joining hands instead of handshaking or hugging)
- Following the policies set by the Nepal Government
- Cancellation of social functions
- Weather and climate
The Nepalese Tourism Industry
Among the vital sectors of the Government revenue, tourism industry secures a significant role. Although small in area, Nepal provides lifelong experiences of travel, trekking and mountaineering to the national and international travelers. There are around 1,310 mountains above 6,000m ranging from Far East to Far West border of Nepal. Among 14 peaks above 8,000m in the world, there are 8 in Nepal including the highest peak, Mount Everest (8,848m).
The variation in topography has resulted in variety of climate, wildlife, vegetation, lifestyle, culture and tradition. The tropical forests of the lowland Terai to alpine vegetation of the highland are the home for a large variety of birds and animals. Hundreds of thousands tourists are attracted by the large-sized animals like one-horned rhino and the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Terai to the lovely Himalayan birds like Pheasant, the National bird of Nepal.
There are tens of cultural sites recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are worthy of visiting due to their art and architecture. Lord Buddha, the Light of Asia was also born in this Himalayan country or the Land of the Himalayas. Every year, thousands of tourists come to visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Nepal houses many conservation areas, national parks and restricted areas that allure the international travelers. The hidden Himalayan valleys keeping the ancient socio-cultural aspects intact for ages are also some of the pulling factors to the tourists.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Nepalese tourism industry has been really affected that all the tourist destinations are quiet in absence of the flow of the tourists. From the tourist hub, Thamel to the Lake City Pokhara; from the busiest Annapurna Circuit trails to Mount Everest region; from Pashupatinath Temple to Lumbini; from Chitwan National Park to Bardiya National Park; all are in recess due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The country’s travel, trekking and mountaineering activities are hampered due to the nationwide lockdown and prohibition in air transportation in Nepal. There are more than 3,500 travel and 2,600 trekking agencies are involved in the Nepalese tourism industry for a long time. More a half million of job opportunities are created by tourism industry of Nepal. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands people involved in providing services to the tourists and trekkers. A large number of people are involved in community based tourism industry providing homestay facilities. All these tourism agencies and the jobs are badly influenced by this lockdown created due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides the negative impacts, there are some positive impacts of COVID-19 seen in weather and environment of the entire Nepal. Due to the halt of vehicles and factories, there are no release of the CFCs and other pollutants in the environment. The environmental cleanliness has ensured the soothing visibility that you can see the Himalayas, green forests and lush valleys from everywhere. The number of flora and fauna has increased due to no intervention of human activities in the environment. Even the holes in the ozone layer are remedied due to no pollutants in the atmosphere.
The cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara have become green and clean as there is no mixture of CFCS and other pollutants in the weather of the cities. It is the result of the suspension of the transportation and halt in operating factories. The Department of the Roads has been actively utilizing this lockdown to repair the damaged sections of the roads in the urban areas like Kathmandu and Pokhara. These are the major cities having the highest population density and having industrial areas. The crowd and construction activities are also the factors contributing for the environmental pollution.
The plants in the middle of the roads and the forests around the cities are washed by the rainfalls at the regular intervals. Moreover, in Nepal spring season has just ended and summer season has started. This seasonal cycle has also helped the environment and weather to be more beautiful and green. Now, even from your bed, you can hear the chirping of the large varieties of birds. From the windows, you can see the glittering Himalayas located in the Northern side bordering with the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
The Nepalese Tourism Industry Post COVID-19 Pandemic
Looking at the spread nature and revival of the disease, the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t seem to last soon. Moreover, the health experts and scientists involved in developing of the medication like vaccinations and other treatment of novel coronavirus predict that the infection of this new virus tends to exceed 80% of the total population of the world. There are various projections regarding the post COVID-19 pandemic world. Along with the loss of large number of population, the entire world will be suffering from starvation, unemployment and worldwide economic depression.
In such situation, Nepal can’t be an exception that remarkable impacts will definitely be seen in different sectors of the Nepalese society. The impacts of the pandemic will affect the socio-cultural, economic and income generating activities. Tourism industry is one of the most remarkable sectors badly affected by this pandemic situation. All the travel and trekking agencies involved in the Nepalese tourism industry are badly affected due to the nationwide lockdown implemented from 24 March 2020. A large number of population related to the tourism sectors have lost their employment. In a sense, the Nepalese tourism is totally down due to the lockdown created by COVID-19.
Even after the control of COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t seem quite easy to resume the tourism industry as other sectors of the country. Maybe the large number of people will change their profession to avoid the unemployment problem and earn their livelihood. Even when the situation comes to a normal state, it takes time to restart the Nepalese tourism industry. The main challenge of resuming tourism industry is that the Nepalese may not be easily welcoming for fear of communication of novel coronavirus through the international tourists.
On the other hand, there must be a compulsive system of 14-day-quarantine for every international tourist coming for Nepal visit. Spending 14 days in quarantine has a direct impact on the international tourists that they should have a longer vacation while the cost of any tour and trekking package goes to be a little higher. However, to overcome this confusion, the Government of Nepal should collaborate with the tourism agencies to make a sustainable plan to attract a large number of tourists.
Giving considerable discounts on packages of tour and trekking in Nepal can be a very effective tool to invite more and more number of foreign travelers to the country. They should collectively organize awareness campaigns with the message that Nepal is safe for visiting after COVID-19 pandemic. The local organizations like youth clubs, Aama Samuha and NGOs should be mobilized to spread the positive information in the major trekking regions like Everest, Annapurna, Langtang and Manaslu regions.
The most important news we should give is that Nepal is still safe for travel, trekking and mountaineering. The trekking regions of Nepal are still safe and they have become more beautiful than they used to be in pre-pandemic condition. The media should be utilized to promote and advertise the existing tourist destinations and explore new destinations as well. Introducing new tourist destinations means a positive contribution in the daily activities of the people and the national economy as a whole.
COVID-19 has become a common concern of the world today as it has been spreading in most of the countries day by day. The entire world community is combating with this deadly virus individually and collaboratively as well. Nepal is also infected with this epidemic since 243January 2020, however, the situation has not gone out of the grip. Till the date, very small portion of the Nepalese population is infected with this disease but luckily, there is not any death caused by nCoV. The lifestyle, immunity, socio-cultural activities and the initiatives taken by the Government of Nepal are the prime reasons for less impacts of this disease in the country.
Yes, the Nepalese tourism industry including the agencies and people involved in this field is badly affected by this pandemic situation. Along with the negative impacts, the weather and environment are highly benefited by this nationwide lockdown. The major trekking regions and cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, etc. are safe and have become more beautiful than ever. It may take a longer time for the Nepalese tourism industry to come to a normal situation, however, there is still more hopeful situation in front of us!
A1 Excursion Adventure has been tirelessly active in facilitating various tour and trekking packages in Nepal and Tibet for more than 15 years. We are always determined to provide you with the genuine and authentic information regarding the hot and happening of the Nepalese Tourism Industry. We always try our best to become your Number 1 travel partner in Nepal. For more updates about COVID-19 Status and Tourism Industry in Nepal, ww.a1excursion.com.
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