Chaos ensues in Lamjung as scuffle break out between hydro project officials and localsThe locals vandalised the project’s vehicles for defying the lockdown on Monday.
A scuffle broke out between locals and the employees of a construction company in Lamjung as the latter defied the nationwide lockdown on Monday.
When the employees of the Nyadi Hydroelectricity Project drove their vehicles—two of which were trucks carrying turbines—the locals of Thulibesi proceeded to block the road using logs and a fence. But the employees destroyed the fence and ran over the logs, eye-witnesses said.
The local youths then took to the road and stopped the vehicles, after which the employees tried to attack the locals, who in turn retaliated. Chaos ensued. After a few minutes of scuffle between the two parties, the employees ran away, locals said.
Two of the project’s officials—Basudev Gadtaula, who is the administrative officer and the project, and Rameshwor Yadav, a translator—have been injured. According to Bishnu Raj Ghimire, public relations officer at the project, two of the vehicles were vandalised.
Many of the employees at the project are Chinese nationals who recently returned from their native country. Locals say the employees defied their requests to stay in quarantine after their return.
A team of police led by Inspector Om Prakash Pun was deployed at the incident site. The team tried to placate the locals but until Monday evening, the case remains unsolved, according to Pun.
Deputy Superintendent Rabindraman Gurung of Lamjung Police said his office is investigating the case.
The project is run by the Chinese contractor Zhejiang Hydropower Construction and Installation. The 30MW hydro project at Nyadikhola in Marsyangdi Rural Municipality is nearing completion, with 85 percent of work completed so far.
The company employs 61 Chinese nationals, of whom, 57 had visited China to celebrate the Chinese New Year, about the time when the coronavirus outbreak was at its peak in the country. Thirty-eight employees have already returned to the construction site, but they have refused to either stay in a quarantine facility or comply with the lockdown, Sunil Khanal, a local, said.
“Monday’s incident is a culmination of the locals’ month-long ire at the Chinese employees and Nepali officials at the project,” said Khanal.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.