Odd-even rule for vehicles enforced in Valley and other districts with more than 200 active casesThe Ministry of Home Affairs also bars gatherings at hotels and restaurants, and public and vehicular movements from 9pm to 5am.
The government has once again decided to restrict public and vehicular movements, starting from Thursday, following a sharp increase in Covid-19 infections across the country.
The Home Ministry, on Wednesday evening, came up with several measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
As per the latest decision, the odd-even rule has been enforced for public and private vehicles plying inside Kathmandu Valley and other districts with more than 200 active cases, according to Umakanta Adhikari, deputy spokesperson for the Home Ministry.
The ministry has also barred vehicular and public movements from 9pm to 5am.
“The rules apply to all three districts of Kathmandu Valley and districts having more than 200 active cases,” said Adhikari. “Except for essential service vehicles, all other vehicles should follow the odd-even rule.”
The government lifted the four-month-long lockdown on July 21. Since then, Covid-19 cases have been soaring in Kathmandu Valley.
On Wednesday, when two more Covid-19-related deaths and 381 new cases were reported, the toll reached 60 and total cases 21,390. With 57 new infections, Kathmandu currently has 482 active Covid-19 cases.
The Home Ministry has also decided to strictly enforce the rule of not allowing passenger vehicles to enter Kathmandu Valley between 7 pm and 7 am.
“Since the lockdown was lifted, there was an increase in vehicular movement and economic activities picked up pace, which led to the rise in Covid-19 cases, mainly in the urban areas,” said Adhikari.
“The rapid increase in virus cases in Kathmandu Valley and other cities has been attributed to the increased public movement. So the government has come up with this new decision.”
The Home Ministry has asked District Covid-19 Crisis Management Centres to take decisions to immediately seal the areas if there is an increase in cases. According to Adhikari, cross-border public movement will also be strictly prohibited.
The ministry has barred all kinds of public gatherings—parties, seminars, feasts and other social gatherings at hotels and restaurants.
According to a statement, the health protocols enforced by the Health Ministry and security protocols of the Home Ministry will be strictly enforced.Individuals and operators of organisations will be penalised if found not wearing masks and flouting other health protocols.
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.