KATHMANDU, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- COVID-19 cases in Nepal crossed 21,000 mark with addition of new 259 cases on Tuesday as the Himalayan country sees resurge in new cases, Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population said.
"Nepal has now 21,009 COVID-19 cases," Jageshwor Gautam, spokesperson at the ministry, said in a regular press meet on Tuesday, adding "the cases are on the rise nationwide."
After witnessing record high single day infections of 740 on July 3, Nepal had seen steep decline in daily infections with daily cases coming down below 100. Since July 28, when Nepal reported 311 new cases, the Himalayan country is seeing sudden upsurge in cases.
Nepali officials said after the nationwide lockdown was lifted from July 22 easing people's movement, the cases started to rise once again. The Nepali government had imposed the lockdown on March 24.
After formally ending the lockdown, the Nepali government started resuming the operation of the various sectors including ground transportation, hotels, trekking and mountaineering. The Nepali government announced that domestic and international flights, which have remained closed since March 22, will start from Aug. 17.
But resurgence in cases has put the Nepali government in fix. Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli on Tuesday held discussions with senior leaders of opposition political parties and experts in the health sector regarding the ways to control the pandemic.
According to a press statement issued by the Nepali Prime Minister's personal secretariat on Tuesday, during the meeting, Prime Minister Oli stressed the need for creating more awareness among the people about the pandemic.
Nepali health officials have repeatedly warned that the country could see upsurge in cases provided people do not follow the health protocols such as maintaining social distance, avoiding crowds and using face masks properly.
"After the lockdown was lifted, people are not following the health protocol as expected," Sameer Kumar Adhikari, joint spokesperson at the health ministry told Xinhua on Monday. "As a result, particularly, Kathmandu Valley and southern Birgunj town are vulnerable to community transmission of the disease."
He said that the Nepali government is yet to announce any community transmission of virus. "But, cases are seen in different clusters of the communities," he said.
Kathmandu Valley recorded 62 new cases, a record high single day infections on Tuesday, according to the ministry. As many as 15 cases have been reported among the staff of Nepal's anti-graft body - Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority.
Meanwhile, citing increased infections in the Kathmandu valley, the Nepali government on Tuesday issued a notice asking people to help in collecting swab samples of people who entered the valley from more risky regions and those who had come into contact with suspected COVID-19 patients.
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