Nepal relaxing lockdown after all

Finance and Information Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada told a media briefing on Wednesday evening that the Cabinet extended the COVID-19 lockdown till 18 May, but it had also decided to relax rules on manufacturing, industries and banking sectors.

These would be partially opened with certain restrictions on distancing and health monitoring of workers, and that the decision about opening up would be done in coordination with local governments.

The industries included in the list are food production and processing, dairies, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment manufacturers, water supply, brick kilns, livestock and fisheries, feed industries, sugar, tea and LPG.

Also to be opened will be noodles industries, bakeries, poultry, dairy, and processing of other agricultural products.

Among the non-food industries to be relaxed are cement, paint, plywood, plastic pipes, sand and crushers, steel and electrical equipment.

However, the following rules apply: factories cannot have more than ten workers in one place at a time, and workers get health check-ups daily.

For the time being, workers also need to stay in dorms, and eat in canteens at their workplaces, without coming in contact with local people or family members.

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