Police set up coronavirus response unit at every stationExams called off, breathalyser tests suspended, arrests for minor offence discouraged.
Nepal Police has established a coronavirus response unit at all of its stations across the country, the force’s spokesperson said.
Officials have also assured that policing will not be affected by the coronavirus threat and officials are prepared even for the worst case scenario.
“The organisation has been working to reduce the risk of a possible outbreak of coronavirus,” said Deputy Inspector General Shailesh Thapa Kshetri, spokesperson for Nepal Police. “Currently, we are also involved in implementing government decisions [on controlling the spread of the virus]. But this won’t affect regular policing,” he added.
On Wednesday, Nepal Police Headquarters postponed its recruitment examinations for inspector, assistant sub- inspector and constable.
Similarly, Metropolitan Traffic Police, Kathmandu, has stopped conducting checks for drunk-driving after realising that the breathalysers could spread infection.
Senior Superintendent Bhim Dhakal, chief of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, said police will take drivers and riders to a hospital nearby if they are found to be driving under the influence. The division has also stopped running awareness classes for those fined for traffic infractions.
On Thursday, senior officials, including a Inspector General Thakur Prasad Gyawali, home ministry Secretary Maheswor Neupane, Director General of Department of Prison Management Gajendra Bahadur Shrestha held a meeting to reduce the number of prisoners serving jail terms.
The meeting also decided not to arrest suspects involved in minor crimes. The office has directed authorities to carry out detailed investigations before arresting people as crowded cells could become hotspots for transmission.
“However, if a person commits a serious crime like rape, abduction, hostage-taking, human trafficking, money laundering and killing by taking a hostage or inflicting torture, the person will be taken into custody for,” Kshetri told the Post.
On Friday, Inspector General Gyawali, in a video conference with all seven provincial police chiefs, ordered officials to make provisions for isolation beds and quarantine facilities using available resources. Police personnel are also helping run 128 health desks in 38 districts.
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.