Kathmandu [Nepal], July 4 (ANI): Visa applications to travel abroad from Nepal has increased significantly due to ease in travel restrictions as the pandemic continues to debilitate.

As per the statistics from Visa Facilitation Services Global (VFS-Global), travel trends have increased by 600 per cent by the end of May 2022 in comparison with data till the end of May the year 2021.

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"If we compare the visa processing applications that of the year 2019 vs May 2022 it has increased by about 130 per cent. Volumes in 2021 were significantly less as many international borders were closed with pandemic-induced travel restrictions. However, riding on the high pent-up demand volumes in the first half of 2022 have more than doubled as compared to pre-pandemic levels," Elizabeth Samuel, the Deputy Regional Head North and East India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Israel at VFS told ANI.

As per the Visa Facilitation Services, students selected Australia, Canada, Japan and the UK as their major destinations to fly to.

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"The upsurge in the student visa application also contributed significantly to the overall rise in visa application volumes in 2022," Samuel added.

With ease in travel restrictions, students vying for abroad studies have also been applying for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Education Ministry.

"Around 12,000 to 15,000 students obtain NOC monthly," chief of NOC section Education Under-Secretary Hari Prasad Niraula said.

As per the records, 102,873 individuals got the NOC in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year that ended in mid-June for different countries.

The number stood at 30,473 between April 14 and June 19," the official added.

Till mid of June, the positivity rate of the Himalayan nation stood at 0.68 per cent with no records of critical cases. On mid of June, the number of active cases in Nepal was recorded at 97 while it spiked by three times to 280 within 15 days' time duration.

Covid has been mutating or shape-shifting. Amongst the sub-variants of Omicron, the latest ones experts are concerned about - BA.4 and BA.5 are very closely related to the Omicron variant behind last winter's wave.

Currently, there are 333 active cases in the country as 20 infected patients recovered in the past 24 hours. No person died due to coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The COVID-19 death toll in the country stands at 11,952 to date. (ANI)

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