With many traffic officers in quarantine, other police personnel mobilised to enforce odd-even vehicle rule8,302 motorists have been booked for violating alternate-day driving rule in the past six days.
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division office in Baggikhana has been sealed for nearly a week now following the detection of coronavirus infection in four officers.
Nearly 300 traffic officers at the division in Baggikhana are currently in quarantine. Thirty-three officers at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Section in Tripureshwor are also observing quarantine after two traffic policemen there tested positive for coronavirus.
Due to its reduced strength, the traffic police has asked for support from Nepal Police to manage and monitor the traffic in Kathmandu Valley.
Nepal Police has mobilised its constables all across the Valley to regulate the traffic and enforce the odd-even rule for vehicles.
“We have been strictly monitoring the odd-even rule enforced by the government,” said a 25-year-old- police constable mobilised to monitor the traffic in the Bhadrakali area.
Earlier, only few traffic police were present on the Valley roads, resulting in poor implementation of the odd-even rules.
The mobilisation of Nepal Police constables on traffic duty is expected to discourage motorists from flouting the alternate-day driving rule that was imposed as a curb to control the spike of coronavirus cases in the Valley.
There was a noticeable presence of Nepal Police personnel on the Valley roads since Monday.
“Any motorists driving out of turn are being stopped at this checkpoint. We have already booked over two dozen motorcyclists,” said the constable. “This is my first experience doing a traffic policeman’s job.”
Bam Dev Gautam, spokesperson at the traffic police division office, said:“With many traffic officers put under quarantine, Nepal Police has mobilised its staff to monitor the traffic movements and they are helping traffic personnel enforce the odd-even rule,”
Gautam himself is also staying in quarantine along with Superintendent of Police Bhim Prasad Dhakal, chief of the traffic division office.
Senior Superintendent of Police Sushil Kumar Yadav, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Office, Rani Pokhari, said most of the Nepal Police personnel deployed on traffic duty are newly recruited constables.
“Nepal Police civvies have also been deployed to monitor the movement of people and vehicles, including at six entry points of Kathmandu Valley,” said Yadav.
The government had imposed the odd-and even rule for public and private vehicles inside Kathmandu Valley for the second time last week.
Besides, the government has also been regulating the vehicles and people entering the Valley from various entry points: Thankot-Nagdhunga, Pharping, Jagati, Tinpiple-Mudkhu Bhanjyang, Jaharshing Pawa and Kattike.
According to Yadav, the Nepal Police has mobilised 3,196 personnel in Kathmandu, 810 in Bhaktapur and 1,127 personnel in Lalitpur with the instruction to enforce the Covid-19 public health safety and rules, like odd-even vehicle rule and social distancing. “Various police units have deployed their officers on the road to nab the rule violators,” said Yadav.
Gautam, the spokesperson for the traffic division office, said a total of 1,602 odd-even rule vehicle rule violators, including 4oo four-wheelers were seized, on Tuesday alone.
In the past six days, the division’s records show that 8,302 motorists were booked for taking out their vehicles when it was not their turn.
“With the help of Nepal Police, the traffic officers are strictly monitoring the odd-even vehicle rule,” said Gautam.
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.