KATHMANDU – The Nepali government has decided to allow once-a-week flights to China, Qatar and Turkey as all international flights except two flights per week with India have remained suspended in the country’s efforts to curb a deadly new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Nepali cabinet minister said Friday.

“Regular flights once a week were opened for these destinations to ease travel for Nepalis and foreign nationals amid continued suspension of international flights,” Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation, told Xinhua.

“The Tourism Ministry would decide the date of regular flights,” he said.

Nepali officials said another objective of the move is to get supply of medical goods in an easier way to help the medical system control the pandemic in the country.

The Nepali authorities suspended almost all international flights in early May and later extended the suspension till the end of this month so as to curb COVID-19, as variants of the virus had left more sick and dead.

Earlier, on May 18, the Nepali government decided to open flights to Guangzhou, China and Doha, Qatar. “Now, the Chinese destination will, however, be fixed based on mutual understanding,” Yadav Prasad Koirala, secretary at the tourism ministry, told Xinhua.

As of Thursday, Nepal had recorded 542,256 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 6,951 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.