Government warns of action against those who come out of home without wearing masks and those not maintaining physical distanceAuthorities say the decision was taken after individuals were seen not following safety measures to stop the spread of the virus after the lockdown was eased on June 11.
The government has decided to take strict action against people who are found to be not following health protocols such as wearing masks or maintaining physical distance, which are essential to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday notified all the 77 district administration offices to take action against individuals who defy containment measures such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing of two metres.
According to Umakanta Adhikari, deputy spokesperson for the Home Ministry, the government decided to take strict action against offenders in the wake of violations of these measures and complaints from the public.
“The government had imposed the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. Later, it was relaxed to ease public movement but with some protocols to be followed by everyone,” Adhikari told the Post. “These protocols included following some measures like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and not gathering in large numbers. However, these conditions were not strictly followed.”
After the Covid-19 cases started increasing, the government imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 24.
“People, however, were seen walking outside without wearing masks, gathering in large numbers and forming crowds and not even maintaining social distancing, leaving themselves and others at risk,” said Adhikari. “Following complaints and fears of infections, the ministry has decided to take action against those who are defying health measures. The decision is enforced from today [Monday].”
The offenders will be penalised as per the Infectious Diseases Act 2020.
Nepali Congress lawmaker and ex-health minister Gagan Thapa welcomed the decision.
“The decision of taking action against individuals walking out of their houses without wearing a mask is commendable,” Thapa said on Twitter. “Wearing masks is for self-protection. Let’s follow health protocols. Let’s maintain a safe distance whenever outdoors, use a mask and encourage others also to do so.”
Nepal’s tally of Covid-19 cases has reached 15,964 so far. The country has reported 35 deaths due to the virus.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of August 5, 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 213 countries and infected more than 18,700,119 people with 704,332 deaths and 11,915,046 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections 1,906,613 at with 39,820 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 280,461 confirmed cases with 5,999 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 21,009 cases with 58 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.