Corona, a deadly virus that emerged from Wuhan, China has reached several parts of the world killing several thousand and infecting hundreds of thousand people. As Nepal falls in the high alert zone for the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Government has decided for a stricter lockdown rather and asked people to stay at home. Earlier they also canceled all exams (including SEE) and shut down all entertainment hubs. They have now canceled all intl’ flights and the long route travels from Chaitra 9 to Chaitra 21.
Now with the stricter approach, all offices other than those deliver emergency services will also remain closed from March 22 to April 3, 2020. Later they declared a week-long complete lockdown of the country. Only the organization and offices related to telecom, electricity, food supply, water supply, fuels, media/newspaper and more will have a seamless operation. Nepal came to the decision by learning from the countries which limited the spread of the virus by locking down all the business activities and people’s travel.
Just Stay at home unless urgently need to go out: NepaliTelecom
All businesses and firms in Nepal have also started to take action to prevent the spread of the virus. Among which Tech and IT companies in Nepal are also putting the best effort for the prevention of COVID-19 infection.
Here is what we posted on our Facebook to make people aware of the protection against the virus infection. Let’s find out some of the recent announcements or actions performed by Nepali Companies to fight against the Corona Virus spreading, using some IT tools.
Ntc has started to provide Covid-19 awareness message in its calling ring back tone (which they call as CRBT). The voice message plays when you make a call to any Ntc number until the call picks up. The government-owned telco has also incorporated the coronavirus message in its “Suchana ko Sansar” information center. For this, you need to dial 32100 to listen to the voice information.
Nepal Telecom also requests people to use several other options than to come to their office which will also remain open for now. They published such notice in the national dailies so that fewer people (only those who need to be physically present) come to the counters/offices. Here are some of the alternatives for getting the job done without visiting the customer center.
- All Ntc recharge means online/offline
- NTC website and Mobile apps.
- Use e-banking, e-commerce, and mobile banking (Read below)
- Using debit/credit card to recharge your account.
You can also make a call to their customer support center in case of any support or queries.
To facilitate people in this lockdown, Ntc earlier provided 100% bonus on recharge (which is not available now). Now with the extension of lockdown, they have increased the deadline for internet services in this period. Now they have brought internet discounts and stay connected data, voice offer. Read more of the Ntc stay connected offer.
Ncell has been sharing awareness information regarding the coronavirus to people through SMS. Now they are requesting people to follow simple moves to be smart in carrying out their businesses.
We saw two messages on Ncell’s social network sites as
- Work in Cloud, Not in the crowd.
- Don’t skip the meeting but skype.
As known, Ncell will allow their staff to start “work for home” in the wake of this deadly virus transmission.
Ncell contributes Rs 100 million (10 crore) to the Government fund to fight against Corona. This will surely help the officials to gather logistics in protecting the health workers and safeguard people against the virus.
Ncell has also made the balance transfer free of charge and increased the balance amount in this difficult time. This has been done to enable sharing balance among people, from those who can do online recharge to those who cannot do it.
Ncell now provides a 120% bonus on recharge and more offers. Read more on Ncell contribution against Corona.
In a surprising action or message, Tootle has put a status on Facebook asking people to stay at home. Being a ride-sharing platform, they say “You can always take a tootle ride, but today we request you to stay at home and stay safe”. This comes as the whole world is under an emergency period and all things matter is people’s own safety.
Thanks to Tootle for this message which brings down its own businesses. Well, this is the time where everyone should act responsibly and shouldn’t risk anyone for the sake of their business.
Nepal Electricity Authority became the first public entity to suggest people prefer online bill payments than to visit their counters. The online bill payment had been there for a long time and this sort of payment is most suitable for this emergency period.
All you need to do is download any payment provider’s apps and follow this process to pay the electricity bills.
These days, as most of the utilities offer online payment, you can do the same for payments for Khanepani (Water), telephone, internet, etc.
Banks in Nepal have also announced to waive all charges for the use of their debit card in other bank accounts. Earlier they used to charge some amount for this sort of transaction. Similarly, they are promoting mobile banking and internet banking which will also be free of charge. This has been done by Nepal bankers Association to discourage crowds in their counters, to lessen the risk of spreading.
They also suggest contacting the respective bank for already registered users of mobile banking and internet banking. Bank services also remain open during the closure period. But if you encounter any issue for those digital banking, you can contact them through a telephone call.
Payment service providers
As people use several wallets based or direct bank transfer, those payment service providers have also decided to make the digital transfer free of charge. eSewa, Khalti, ConnectIPS were some of those providers who have taken the initiation to make the digital transaction free. This has a two-fold advantage, firstly it will help people to do the payment for their services, product online, second you do not have to use physical money.
Both of them reduce the risk of getting a lethal virus infection. As studies found that physical notes could be one of the means for virus spreading, it is better to go cashless and prefer such mobile apps.
Nepal Rastra Bank
NRB has also increased the limit of the transactions online for both banks and wallet based transfer. The wallet based transaction limit has been changed to Rs 1 lakh per day with a monthly ceiling of 5 lakhs and per transaction limit of Rs 25,000.
Similarly the bank transfer amount from mobile banking limits at Rs 1 lakhs per day and Rs 10 lakhs per month. Whereas for the money transfer using internet banking, they have set the daily limit of Rs 10 lakhs and a monthly limit of Rs 50 lakhs.
In this emergency lockdown situation, NRB has increased the limit to facilitate users to use digital payments and money transfers.
Although the school, colleges are closed for now and all exams are even postponed, some institution like Uniglobe college goes online teaching which can accommodate 200 students at once.
This sort of teaching was made available in most affected countries like China and the US. So, the students there went to classes regularly with such online platforms. We can expect more of such colleges, institutions to start off the online classes, beneficial for all periods.
Here are some of the emergency numbers in Nepal that you should be knowing in this difficult situation.
- Information about Corona from Ministry of health’s toll-free number: 1115 (10 am to 6 pm)
- Ntc Suchana ko Sansar free number for Corona Virus information: 32100
- Ask Police to complain about any crime: 100
- Fire bigrade: 101
- Ambulance: 102
- Department of Immigration: +977-01-4429659, 4429660
- Hello Sarkar (Government complaint number): 1111
How the tech world is coping with the Coronavirus?
Global tech companies have done a lot of initiatives to support people, employees and reduce the virus spread. As a limitation in travel restricts the virus spread, they have asked almost all of their employees to do “Work for home”. Here are some examples of how they gave back to the world/society in this pandemic situation.
- Cisco has made its WebEx platform free, allowing people to do meetings, video conferencing, presentations online. This will support offices perform regular meetings over this platform while being at home. This also restricts people travel from one part of the world to others.
- Some of the telcos in the US have removed the data caps to support people to use more internet for their official work and information flow.
- As the school, colleges, universities were closed, they devised an online mode of teaching platform for the regular classes. This was also prevalent in China through virtual classrooms so the classes were on even during the climax of the outbreak.
- Public Wi-Fi is also made free so that people can use it for their internet requirements and also offload the cellular network.
- As people are unable to renew their already subscribed internet service, they have prolonged the internet subscription for this period. So, their internet will cut-off even if they don’t pay for the subscription fee.
- YouTube, Linkedin, Google providing regular COVID-19 updates and information on how to be safe.
- Baidu, the Google of China marked the crowded area and location of the infection as the red marked zone so that they can avoid those places while traveling.
- Some platforms providing like SimplyE of New York Public Library (NYPL), Scribd offer free books read, download for some time.
- Video streaming platforms like YouTube, Netflix downgrade the video quality to save the bandwidth in this period as a lot of people use the internet.
- Some of the countries like Singapore, China, the UK build an app that could identify the suspected people for virus infection. It is based on the trackback algorithm to find where the infected people go and meet with. After identifying those, the officials had put the more-likely or all of them under quarantine for the prevention of virus spread. Singapore also launches the contact tracing mobile app to track and slow-down the virus spread.
Now lets come back to Nepal again. Here telcos, banks, Utilities, and payment providers have asked people to use the online bill payments and recharge. Do follow the above recommendations to save yourself and your family from infection. Cashless transaction is always better than physical money, and it is is more useful for times like these.
Tell us among those companies support against CoronaVirus #Covid-19, which one do you like the most in the comment section below.
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