Ghode Jatra draws huge crowd at Tundikhel amid Covid-19 riskPeople are not following simplest of advice like wearing masks in public.
Even though the government has directed the people to avoid public gatherings and wear face masks when they are outside to contain the spread of coronavirus, the instructions are clearly not being heeded.
A large number of people gathered outside the fence of Tundikhel military parade ground to watch the Ghode Jatra event on Sunday. Most of them were not wearing masks, much less maintaining social distance.
“There is nothing to do because the cinema halls have been closed. I got bored staying at home,”said Ramesh Kumar Yadav, who was there with his three friends. “It’s fun to see the live horse race.”
Following a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Health Ministry had recently directed the authorities concerned to strictly enforce health and safety measures in public buses, shopping malls, bars, party places, health clubs, swimming pools and temples, among others. But with no one to monitor these places, mask and social distancing rules are not being followed.
Fifty-five-year Ram Kumar Paudel, who had come to watch Ghode Jatra at Tundikhel, said he was there because it was a public holiday.
“If you fear Covid-19, it’s there. But if you don’t fear it, there is nothing,” he said. “Rather than staying at home and playing cards, I thought it was better to come here.”
Paudel and Yadav represent a large section of the people who do not seem to understand the risk
Public health experts have warned of a second wave of Covid-19 infections, but many people are not following the simplest of advice, such as wearing masks in public and avoiding large crowds.
“During the Holi we also saw many people coming out of their homes in large groups despite the threat of the virus. We are already witnessing a surge in the number of infections. The infection rate will shoot up in the next two weeks,” said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, chief of the Clinical Research Unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital.
Doctors have been telling the public to be more alert as the fast-spreading virant of coronavirus, the one that was first detected in the United Kingdom, is 64 percent deadlier than the previous strains. Research reveals that the B 1.1.7 strain of the novel coronavirus is significantly more lethal than earlier variants.
But despite its most contagious nature and lethalness, people are not afraid of the virus.
Prabhakar Pokhrel, associate professor at Department of Psychiatry in Kist Medical College, says the government has not been able to drive home the message about the role of the general public to contain the virus spread.
“The prime minister himself is making light of the virus by suggesting that guava leaves and turmeric could cure Covid-19,” said Pokhrel. “No wonder, there are many people who think that coronavirus is nothing to fear about.”