Police officials adopt stringent measures to prevent people from entering Valley without valid reasonOfficials seize permits issued to people found misusing them.
With the number of Covid-19 cases reported in the country registering a sharp increase in the last few days, police officials have put in place stringent measures to stop members of the general public from entering the Vallley.
The measures were put in place after an inspection team from the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force visited the Valley’s entry points and ordered personnel to strictly inspect incoming vehicles and their permits.
“After we received widespread complaints that permits were being misused, we have started interrogating even those with permits,” said Ghanshyam Shrestha, chief of Metropolitan Police Circle, Thankot. “If we find anyone entering the Valley except for essential work, we send them back.”
Police mobilised at Nagdhunga, one of the entry points to Kathmandu valley, have sent back over 300 vehicles trying to enter the valley without a valid reason.
“On Monday, we sent back 37 vehicles. But after we were ordered to adopt more stringent tests, the number of vehicles sent back rose to 103 on Tuesday and 200 on Wednesday,” said Deputy Superintendent Shrestha.
However, vehicles ferrying vegetables, food items, fuel and other essential goods, and ambulances have been allowed to enter Kathmandu, he said.
The government on Wednesday decided to extend the Covid-19 lockdown for the fourth time in view of new Covid-19 cases reported across the country. A total of 99 people have tested positive for the disease so far. Nineteen people have been discharged from hospital after they recovered.
According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, on Wednesday 1,617 vehicles entered the Valley while 1,624 left.
“Majority of them are vehicles carrying essential goods,” said Senior Superintendent Bhim Dhakal, chief at Metropolitan Traffic Police Division. “We have even seized permits issued to 2,263 individual after they were found to have misused it.”
Dhakal, who was part of the inspection team, said,“We went to various entry points in Nagdhunga, Bhimdhunga, Kattike, Jagatee in the past few days and instructed officials to take stricter measures,” said Dhakal.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi also visited Nagdhunga to take stock of the situation.
“After receiving news of people sneaking into the city on trucks, I went there to inspect,” said Khadgi.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of August 8, 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 19,543,562 people with 724,075 deaths and 12,545,567 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 2,086,864 with 42,578 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 282,645 confirmed cases with 6,052 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 22,214 cases with 70 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.