The Nepal government has decided to temporarily stop issuing on-arrival tourist visas to all countries and has put an end to all spring mountaineering expeditions, including Everest ascents.

The Himalayan nation took the decision on Thursday night after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and urged countries to take precautionary measures.

“The visa suspension, which excludes diplomatic and official visas, will come into effect on March 14 and last until April 30,” Kathmandu Post quoted a government official as saying.

The decision was taken in a high-level coordination committee meeting led by Deputy Prime Minister and defence minister Ishwar Pokhrel took the decision in this regard.

The meeting also decided to restrict traveller movement to and from India via land routes and adhere to strict quarantine measures at the border. No decision has been made to close down schools and colleges.

“In case of emergency, any foreigners wishing to come to Nepal will need to submit a medical certificate declaring that they are free of the coronavirus while applying at Nepal’s consulate in their respective countries,” the official said.

He said that the government has also decided not to issue visas for tourists entering Nepal via land routes.

The official reportedly said all spring expeditions, including Everest, have been cancelled.

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