March 4: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has suggested the government to implement the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on aviation sector to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus in Nepal.
The WHO has urged the governments across the world not to halt air service during health emergency arguing that it could further complicate the situation.
Director General of CAAN Rajan Pokharel has already submitted a seven-point recommendation to the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai.
A source at the ministry informed New Business Age that the ministry will table the recommendations to the High Level Coordination Committee formed by the government to stop the spread of coronavirus in Nepal for further discussions.
The high level committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokharel is likely to take a decision on whether to halt international flights to and fro the countries affected by coronavirus or not based on the recommendations of CAAN.
“Any country enjoys the prerogative to halt flights based on its circumstances. But international flights are not linked to a single country. Based on international standards and values, we have suggested the government the best possible practice,” said DG Pokharel. “How the situation unfolds depends on government decision,” he added.
Currently, 28 airline companies including the state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation and another Nepali joint-venture company Himalaya Airlines are operating international flights to and from Nepal.
Following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in China since it first appeared on December 31, 2019, the government has issued travel advisory to its citizens not to travel to countries affected by the virus unless absolutely necessary. The government has also stopped issuing on-arrival visas to people coming from five countries most affected by the coronavirus after the Supreme Court directed the government not to provide such visas to those arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Bahrain and Iran.