Valley prohibitory orders to be extended with groceries allowed to open till 9amOther restrictions will be gradually relaxed after studying the situation, officials say.
The chief district officers of the three districts of Kathmandu Valley have decided to extend the Covid-19 prohibitory orders for a week starting Friday while easing some of the restrictions.
A meeting of the chief district officers of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur on Tuesday decided that grocery stores and grocery sections of the departmental stores will be allowed to operate until 9 am starting Friday. But the ban on street vending will continue.
Kali Prasad Prasad Parajuli, the chief district officer at Kathmandu, said his office will issue a notice to this effect on Wednesday. “Starting Friday, we will allow grocery shops and departmental stores to operate in the morning,” said Parajuli after the meeting.
With Tuesday’s decision, the prohibitory orders in Kathmandu Valley that are in place since April 29 will continue until June 10.
“We are still thinking if there are other restrictions that need to be eased,” added Parajuli.
Dhundi Prasad Niraula, the chief district officer of Lalitpur, said vehicles carrying construction materials will be allowed to ply only at night until 5 am. “The prohibition on mobility and the penalty provisions remain intact because we are still not out of danger,” said Niraula.
“The number of infections has been coming down compared to last week, that is why we have decided to ease the restrictions on grocery stores. We will ease restrictions gradually after studying the disease transmission patterns,” added Niraula.
Last Thursday, the total number of infections in the Kathmandu Valley was 2,367, while on Tuesday it came down to 1,558, according to the figures provided by the Ministry of Health and Population. On Tuesday, the country reported a total of 5,285 new cases with 68 more deaths. The death toll has reached 7,454, with active cases standing at 104,789.
While the ban on roadside vending of vegetables and fruits continues, vendors can still sell such items in the venues specified by the local units. The government decision has robbed the livelihoods of over 6,000 vegetables and fruits hawkers in the Valley.
Similarly, journalists and those who work in media houses will need passes issued by the Press Council or recommendation letters from their offices for movement.
Last week, the decision to close grocery shops had triggered panic-buying and crowding at shops throughout the Valley in the two days before the restriction took effect. Doctors and virologists had criticised the move as ‘short-sighted.’