Nepal removes hotel quarantine requirement from fully vaccinated foreign tourists

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KATHMANDU, March 26 (Xinhua) — The Nepali government has removed the requirement for foreign tourists to stay in quarantine provided they have got full doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said.

The ministry said in a notice on Thursday that foreign tourists producing the relevant documents that they have got full doses of vaccine against COVID-19 would not be required to stay in hotel quarantine. Earlier, all foreign tourists visiting Nepal were required to stay in hotel quarantine for at least seven days.

Similarly, the ministry also said that foreign tourists producing documents that were tested negative for coronavirus 72 hours prior to boarding the Nepal-bound plane, are also not required to stay in hotel quarantine. For other tourists who visit Nepal without taking vaccines or who don’t have negative Polymerase Test Reaction (PCR) test report against COVID-19, will have to get their swab tested and must stay in hotel quarantine at least until they are tested negative for coronavirus.

“The provision related hotel quarantine was relaxed to give some respite to the long suffering tourism sector of the country,” Prem Subedi, joint spokesperson at the tourism ministry told Xinhua on Friday morning. “As restriction on almost all other sectors has been lifted along with vaccination drive against COVID-19, this relaxation was made in the tourism sector too in order to help this sector hit hard by the pandemic.”

The Nepali tourism entrepreneurs had long been lobbying against the provision of the week-long hotel quarantine, terming it impractical.

According to Nepali officials, the Nepali government was prepared to relax the quarantine provision as the Himalayan country wants to welcome foreign tourists in this spring mountaineering season.

Due to the global spread of the pandemic, the Nepali government cancelled all mountain expeditions last year. Hundreds of foreigners visit Nepal every year to climb the Himalayan Mountains including Mt. Qomolangma, known as Sagarmatha in Nepal.

Navaraj Dahal, managing director of Nepal Environmental Treks & Expedition, told Xinhua early this week that some foreign tourists have been ready to visit Nepal by following all safety protocols if they are not compelled to stay in hotel quarantine for long.

“We have been arguing that the provision of seven-day long hotel quarantine for foreign tourists is impractical as political parties and their sister organizations in Nepal have been organizing mass gatherings of thousands of people,” said Dahal, who is also the former president of the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal.

On Thursday, Nepal reported 120 new cases of COVID-19. Till Thursday, Nepal reported 276,509 COVID-19 cases with 3,020 deaths from the pandemic. Enditem

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