As per a recent advisory issued by Nepal’s Department of Immigration, fully-vaccinated international visitors do not need to take a pre-departure RT-PCR test to enter the country. The mandatory seven-day quarantine requirement has also been dropped. By Eshita Srinivas
As cases of infections caused by the Omicron variant drop, countries around the world have begun easing travel restrictions. Nepal has followed suit by scrapping the mandatory pre-departure RT-PCR test and quarantine requirements for international travellers. Those who aren’t fully vaccinated, however, will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 report within 72 hours from the port of embarkation.
Increased vaccination rates prompted Nepal’s decision to do away with the RT-PCR test
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Up until recently travellers had to present a negative RT-PCR test report upon arrival in Nepal, regardless of the status of vaccination. However, a recent update has confirmed that international travellers now only need to present proof of vaccination to enter the country. The Director General of the Department of Immigration in Nepal, Narayan Prasad Bhattarai, stated that the decision to ease restrictions is in view of increased vaccination rates.
He also stated that the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre has reported that the Omicron variant is not responsible for severe health complications. “We have eased restrictions to accelerate the return to normalcy as vaccination rates have gone up, while cases of COVID infection are steadily declining. As per the new travel advisory, fully-vaccinated international tourists now have the option of presenting a COVID-19 negative report or vaccination certificate,” he added, as per a news report by The Himalayan Times.
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That said, tourists need to continue complying with other health safety protocols, which includes wearing a mask in public spaces and maintaining social distancing norms. Tourism entrepreneurs have welcomed the new advisory, stating that it would give a positive message to the world. Hoteliers associated with the Hotel Association of Nepal have offered a 20 percent discount to international visitors and domestic flights will have special discounts as well, the report by The Himalayan Times adds.
In part, this decision aims to restore the country’s badly hit tourism sector, India.com reports. The National Tourism Revival Committee, in collaboration with public and private stakeholders, will advise the government of Nepal on policy reforms, promotional events, branding, product development, infrastructure and more. In line with this, the Nepal Ministry of Tourism has appointed Nirmal Purja, the popular Nepalese mountaineer, as the Goodwill Ambassador for Nepal tourism. Further plans of action are set to be announced by April 2022.