Bajhang Police takes nine people in custody on charge of organising a crowded religious fairOfficials at the local unit have said that the fair was organised despite the call to stop it.
Police on Wednesday took nine people, including four ward chairs, in custody on the charge of defying the lockdown to organise a religious fair called Chaitali Mela in Bajhang.
The fair is held at Bannikot in Chhabispathibhera Rural Municipality, Bajhang, every year. The ceremony, which sees animal and bird sacrifices for religious purposes, concluded on Monday amid much fanfare.
According to Netra Bohara, information officer at the District Police, among the individuals held by the police are the chair of Chhabis Pathibhera Ward No.2 Bikash Ayadi, chair of Ward No. 3 Keshav Raj Joshi, chair of Ward No. 4 Amar Thapa and chair of Ward No. 5 Lokendra Thagunna.
Alongside ward chairs, police have also detained Rajendra Bahadur Singh, a member of the Banni Masta Temple Conservation Committee that organises the fest every year; the temple’s priests Nriparaj Joshi and Jaya Krishna Joshi; and Dammar Dhami and Indrabahadur Singh, both of whom work at the temple.
Ward 2 chair Ayadi, denying his involvement in the festival, said that the fair took place despite notices and broadcasts to call it off.
“Unlike previous years, there were no security personnel at the mela site,” he said. “This gave the organisers and attendees liberty to participate in the festival despite the lockdown.”
According to Ridam Singh, a local of Jayaprithvi Municipality, around 300 people attended the fair in the last two weeks.
“Locals of upper and lower Pathibhera also participated in the Banniko Bhakundo (football) competition during the lockdown,” he said.
Meanwhile, oficials at the local unit have said that the fair was organised despite the call to stop it.
“Requests to call off the ceremony this year were ignored,” Radhika Ratala Joshi, vice-chairperson of Chhabispathibhera, said. “A team of health workers, people’s representatives and police personnel had raised awareness among the locals about the novel coronavirus and the ways to prevent its spread. But the locals did not listen to our appeals.”
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of June 2, 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 6,321,836 people with 375,657 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 198,140 with 5,608 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 72,460 confirmed cases with 1,543 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 1,811 cases with eight 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.