Traffic fatality rate in Valley unchanged despite lockdown restrictionsOverspeeding on empty roads has caused 10 deaths in the last 48 days, according to the traffic division office.
Ten people have lost their lives in road accidents inside Kathmandu Valley ever since the country was put under a lockdown on March 24. The figure is nearly the same as the average monthly traffic fatality rate of nine, according to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.
While the number of traffic accidents has gone down during the lockdown period with fewer vehicles plying the Valley roads, the number of deaths has not reduced as anticipated, officials say.
The reason behind unchanged fatality rate is overspeeding, SSP Bhim Prasad Dhakal, chief of the chief, told the Post.
Dhakal referred to Friday’s road accident in Kathmandu’s Rabi Bhawan to illustrate his point.
The accident’s CCTV footage shows a speeding motorcyclist ploughing into an oncoming car. The footage shows that the road is fairly empty at the time of collision.
The motorcyclist, 33-year-old Tikaraj Galal, died instantaneously. The driver of the car was identified as Nepal Army Lt. Col. Shekhar Jung Bahadur Rana.
More recently, an overspeeding motorcycle struck a woman in Kathmandu’s Chandragiri Municipality on Monday. The woman, whom police identified as 40-year-old Ganga Devi Ale, died in the course of treatment at Shahid Memorial Hospital in Kalanki on Tuesday morning.
The motorcyclist, 33-year-old Dipendra Shah, has been taken into police custody.
Dhakal said both incidents in Rabi Bhawan and Chandragiri were caused due to overspeeding.
The Valley’s traffic authority has recorded 243 road accidents in the last 48 days and 10 of them resulted in loss of human lives.
“All of these accidents were results of negligent driving, overspeeding on empty roads being the chief offence,” Dhakal told the Post. “We have also had cases of drunk driving and unqualified drivers causing road accidents during this lockdown.”
To minimise the road accidents in the Valley, the Traffic Police Division Office has raised its surveillance.
“Bringing down speeding violations is our main priority. For this, we have started tracking the speed of vehicles with the help of radar guns,” Dhakal said.
Traffic police stopped 57 motorists for speeding violations along the Kalanki-Koteshwor road stretch on Tuesday.
“Today, we only detained the speeding motorists for an hour before letting them off. From Wednesday onwards, we will book them,” said Jeevan Kumar Shrestha, spokesperson for the division.
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.