Is Nepal safe to travel during this outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Damodar Dhakal

Coronavirus or COVID-19 firstly appeared in Wuhan; China is now spreading around the world and becoming worldwide tension. The cure still has to be discovered, so this disease has killed more than 2700 people and infected more than 80,000 in China only. It has now spread to at least 37 countries. 

So, if you are planning to travel to Nepal, then you are worried about Coronavirus (or COVID-19) in Nepal. But you should not be worried as Nepal is taking several steps for disease control and prevention. 

With Coronavirus spreading around the globe, Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population has issued a travel advisory to citizens and tourists. In order to prevent the spread of this COVID-19 government has suspended the visa-on-arrival facility to the nationals from China, Korea, Iran, Japan, and Italy, which are profoundly affected by the virus. 

So, people who are thinking of traveling in Nepal prevention taken by the government is welcome news indeed!

However, if you are still worried, then here are some guidelines related to Coronavirus in Nepal; why should you not be worried? 

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that causes illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)– World Health Organization (WHO). 

Well, these viruses are zoonotic meaning transmitted between animals and humans. For instance, SARS has been transferred from civet cats to humans, and MERS traveled from a type of camel to a human. 

Currently, six forms of Coronavirus can infect humans;

  • 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  • NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  • OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  • HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
  • MERS-CoV (Dangerous)
  • SARS-CoV (Dangerous)

Likewise effects of the novel Coronavirus in other countries including mainland China;

  1. Mainland China: 42,667
  2. Hong Kong: 49
  3. Singapore: 45
  4. Thailand: 32
  5. South Korea: 28
  6. Japan: 26 
  7. Taiwan and Malaysia: 18
  8. Australia and Vietnam: 15
  9. Germany: 14
  10. USA: 13
  11. France: 11
  12. Macau: 10
  13. UAE and UK: 8
  14. Canada: 7
  15. Italy, Philippines, and India: 3
  16. Russia and Spain: 2
  17. Cambodia, Belgium, Finland, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Sweden: 1

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

According to the WHO, the main symptoms of viruses are: signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe conditions, people have pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. The incubation period, which is between infection and showing any symptoms, lasts up to 14 days- WHO. 

How dangerous is Coronavirus (COVID-19)? How can you avoid it?

Though Nepal lies in Asia remains on high alert as the new Coronavirus spread globally, the risk of spreading in the country remains low. Since it is very fast-moving, but at this time, people traveling to Nepal should not worry about their safety. 

Dozens of people have been tested for the Coronavirus in Nepal, but only one case has been confirmed so far. He was a student studying at Wuhan, China, a hot zone of this virus. 

According to WHO, based on data from 44,000 patients, 81% develop mild symptoms, 14% develop severe symptoms, and 5% become critically ill. And the percentage dying from the Covid-19 appears low between 1-2%- but the figures are unreliable. In the world, thousands of infected people are still being treated but might die so that the data rate could be higher. However, many mild cases remain unreported so that the death rate could also be lower. 

But at the time, there are more than 90,000 cases of the novel Coronavirus worldwide and little over 3,000 deaths. Here are some handy tips you can follow to avoid getting yourself infected from this Coronavirus:

  • Always keep your hands clean especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing
  • Keep distance from sick people
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing 
  • Practice excellent and respectful personal hygiene

Though the country has little risk of Coronavirus, we recommend you no to travel to Hubei province in China, where the new virus is believed to have originated and the epicenter of this severe case. As the virus is new to everyone, scientists are still learning the basics of how it acts, how it spreads, and how deadly it is.   

Is Nepal safe to travel during this outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Although China is a neighbor country of Nepal, there is only one case of Coronavirus infection that has been seen to date. He was a 32 years old Nepalese citizen who was suspected of having coronavirus infection. He was supposed to be infected in Wuhan. He was immediately isolated, treated, and already recovered. 

You can see a lot of Chinese people wandering around the streets of Nepal. But you don’t need to worry! If you are also planning to travel Nepal but afraid of the Coronavirus, then you should not hold back yourself. The Nepal government is putting full effort into stopping the virus from entering the country and make Nepal a safe traveling destination. Even though Nepal is safe to travel, you need to take necessary precautions. Here are some key things you need to consider while traveling during the Coronavirus outbreak.

  • Before traveling, consider your situation regarding your age, physical condition, and medical history. 
  • Always make a habit of practicing good hygiene. You can keep other safes by keeping yourself safe.
  • Grab the information form the relevant government or official websites
  • Don’t panic! Eventually, all this thing will pass. 

Should I cancel my Nepal travel plans because of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Even though the Visit Nepal 2020 Nepal is postponed, you don’t have to cancel your travel plans to Nepal. According to WHO, unless you are traveling to the region where Coronavirus is spreading or get in contact with an infected person, the risk of infection remains low. 

Thus, the short answer would be no. Also, if you are under age 60, the risk is not too high even if you are going to visit low infected countries. Since the situation keeps changing, it is worth checking your government travel advisory for the latest travel advice. Besides, before traveling, it is wise to take counsel with the airline, tour companies, and insurance companies. 

Final Thoughts

Well, Nepal has only one confirmed case of Coronavirus to date. So, if you are planning to travel, you do not need to worry. Nepal Government is scanning and tracking people coming into this country. Thus, the people who wished to visit Nepal there is not any reason to get panic. 

Nepal government deemed the overall risk to the Nepalese as well as people traveling to Nepal to low. Good tests are available and also know how to isolate people who are suspected of having a virus. In the airport, the temperature is checked and asked if they have any symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, fever, and chills. Most importantly, their travel history is also checked. 

In terms of protection, you need to follow necessary common-sense precautions like hand hygiene, washing your hand regularly with soap and water. If that is not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Also, try to avoid touching your mouth and face. Also, avoid contacting people who are known to be ill.

Happy, safe travels!

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