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Nepal Starts 15-day Lockdown as COVID-19 Spikes

Αssociated Press

A Nepalese woman walks on a deserted street during the first day of lockdown in Kathmandu, Nepal, Thursday, April 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Offices were closed, markets were shuttered and vehicles were forced off the streets in Nepal’s capital on Thursday as authorities imposed a 15-day lockdown because of spiking cases of COVID-19.

The lockdown was imposed in most of the Himalayan nation’s major cities and towns. In Kathmandu and surrounding districts, police set up checkpoints and were stopping drivers and pedestrians. Several vehicles were impounded for defying the lockdown.

Residents rushed to neighborhood grocery stores for supplies in the morning when authorities allowed them to open for a few hours. Tens of thousands of people had rushed out of Kathmandu in the past two days to avoid the shutdown.

Both international and domestic flights were operating on schedule. The government has closed the land borders to foreigners, but citizens of neighboring India can enter with a negative coronavirus test and proof of a hotel booking for a 10-day quarantine.

Nepal’s health ministry has recorded 312,699 infections while 3,211 people have died from COVID-19.