Finally, the happy news of Nepal Himalaya opening up for trekking and other purposes came across. Nepal's Cabinet agreed to allow domestic airlines, intercity buses, hotels, and restaurants to reopen from Thursday after 6 months of COVID-19 lockdown. However, the reopening of trekking/tours is following a month after the resumption of domestic flights, transportation, and hotels. The services of mentioned businesses are to be open from 17 September 2020. And the decision was taken on the recommendation of the COVID-19 Crisis Management Committee.
The government eased the lockdown in Kathmandu Valley on 13 September after implementing the second phase of lockdown on August 20. With the relaxation of lockdown, shops now are to be reopened for certain days of the week for a limited time.
The news of relaxation of restrictions has occurred even though the number of reported cases in Nepal has risen from 1,000 to 1,500 per day, with more than half of them in the Kathmandu Valley. On Tuesday, 1,451 new cases occurred nationwide, bringing the total of 56,778. However, the retrieved cases are almost equal to the overall reported cases, even though the figure is disappointing. Also figuratively, the number of recovered cases per day is more than the confirmed cases each day.
Foreign Minister Gyawali said that while travel controls have been relaxed, airlines, hotels, and restaurants would continue to comply with strict isolation and mask protocols. After a long pause and without profits, company owners look forward to opening up and running their companies in compliance with all the health and safety guidelines established by the government. Similarly, long-distance buses are required to run with half the number of passengers, and everybody must obey the protocols. Domestic airlines would have to follow strict safety guidelines for check-in, ramp buses, and on-board aircraft.
Even before this announcement, two expeditions were permitted to climb in Nepal. One was a special permit for an all-Nepali expedition to Mt. Baruntse, which had already left for base camp, and the other for a 15-member Bahraini military expedition to Mt. Manaslu, which included three British people. The Bahrain troop is set to arrive in Kathmandu on a charter flight on Wednesday.
Resumption of trekking is good news for all the trekkers waiting for the official announcement. Now that they have permission, they can freely start to prepare for their trekking venture. However, foreigners are required to have a negative PCR report that is no older than 72 hours while entering Nepal.