Local authorities provide food and shelter to Nepalis stranded in an Uttar Pradesh townA local college has been asked to provide them refuge and a state minister has arranged food for a group of Nepalis stranded in Rampur.
Ninety-two Nepalis stranded in a town in Uttar Pradesh after the governments on both sides of the Nepal-India border imposed a lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 have received food and shelter.
The food and shelter arrangements were made after a group of Delhi-based Nepalis requested local authorities to help people stranded near the border. Authorities from Rampur district and Uttar Pradesh’s Minister for Irrigation and Minority Welfare Baldev Singh Aulakh have come to their rescue.
“We didn’t know for how long the lockdown would last. That’s why we were heading back to Nepal. But we are now stranded,” said Rajan Baniya of Bajhang, one of 92 Nepalis who headed towards Gaurifanta border crossing from Faridabad in the Indian capital three day ago.
A Delhi-based travel agent had assured the group, which includes 20 children and 15 women, that they would be allowed to cross the border, and charged them a total of IRs 45,000 as bus fare.
Upon reaching Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, authorities didn’t allow the vehicle to continue its journey saying that the agent didn’t have a permit to operate the vehicle during the lockdown.
Members of the group, most of them cooks, waiters and domestic help working in Faridabad, were stranded in the town, which is around 200km away from the Gaurifanta crossing. As their bus was not allowed to move, returning to Delhi was also not possible.
Rampur authorities have provided shelter to the stranded Nepalis at Rajkiya Ashram Paddhati Inter College while Minister Aulakh has taken the responsibility of providing food until the lockdown ends.
“The minister has said that we don’t need to worry about food for the stranded Nepalis,” said Sandip Rana, a member of the group that requested Indian authorities to help the stranded Nepalis.
Assistant Commissioner of Police of Rampur District Shogun Gautam said the stranded Nepalis will not face any problems during their stay there.
“Now, they are our responsibility. There won’t be any problems regarding their lodging and fooding,” Gautam told the Post over phone. “All they need to do is stay here until the lockdown is over.”
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of May 27, 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 had spread to 210 countries and infected more than 5,684,795 people with 352,225 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 150,793 with 4,344 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 57,705 confirmed cases with 1,197 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 886 cases with four 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.