Nepal on Wednesday extended the current lockdown until May 18 as part of measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country, local media reported.

The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli at the capital Kathmandu.

“Today’s Cabinet meeting took the decision to continue the lockdown in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country,” Kathmandu Post quoted Padma Kumari Aryal, minister for land management, cooperatives and poverty alleviation, as saying.

Nepal went into lockdown on March 24 which was later extended until May 7. People have been advised to stay indoors and only essential services such as hospitals, police and grocery stores remained open.

Nepal so far reported 82 cases with no deaths while 15 people have recovered and discharged from hospitals, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority.

The Cabinet also extended the suspension of international flights and border shutdown with neighbors until the end of May, the report said.

Landlocked Nepal shares a 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) open border with India, where New Delhi reported 49,436 confirmed cases with 1,695 deaths.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 187 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed nearly 258,000 worldwide, with total infections over 3.68 million, while recoveries surpassed 1.20 million, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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