Prohibitory orders extended; public, private vehicles banned from plying after 8pm starting ThursdayAuthorities say stricter measures are necessary to control the virus spread as cases are rising.
Authorities of Kathmandu Valley have restricted the movement of all types of vehicles except the ones in emergency services after 8pm starting Thursday, in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as the third Covid-19 wave looms large.
Continuing the ongoing prohibitory orders already in place, chief district officers of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur have decided to enforce some strict measures in light of increased socialising and mobility of people.
“We have extended the ongoing prohibitory orders for another 12 days starting Thursday until August 24,” said Kali Prasad Parajuli, chief district officer of Kathmandu. “Public and private vehicles won’t be allowed to ply after 8pm starting Thursday unless there is an emergency situation.”
According to Parajuli, the main objective of banning public and private vehicles after 8pm is to discourage people from partying and eating out, a trend which has increased of late despite authorities allowing restaurants only to provide take-away services.
“We were forced to make this announcement as people started dining and partying at restaurants,” said Parajuli.
After the second wave hit the country, Kathmandu Valley was put under a strict lockdown for two months from April 29. When the prohibitory orders were announced, the country had 4,841 new cases and 35 Covid-19-related fatalities.
After a gradual decline in cases, authorities relaxed the curbs.
In the past few weeks, Covid-19 cases all across the country have gone up steadily.
On Monday, the country reported a total of 3,651 new cases, of which 2,609 were from polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
Everyday, Kathmandu Valley has been reporting around 1,000 new cases.
“We will scale up our monitoring also as cases are rising,” said Dhundi Prasad Niraula, chief district officer at Lalitpur. “Hospital beds have started to fill up with more people being infected with the virus.”
According to Niraula, Lalitpur has taken the same measures as Kathmandu.
“Only with the combined effort of the public and the administration can we beat the virus,” said Niraula.
The District Administration Office, Kathmandu, last Tuesday had published an ‘extremely important notice,’ urging the public and businesses houses to follow health safety protocols to prevent a possible third wave and warned that anyone found violating the prohibitory orders would face stringent punishment as per the law.
Kathmandu’s CDO Parajuli said in the past one week alone the CDO office has booked and fined 35,000 people for not wearing masks and earned Rs 3.5 million.
The notice also urged all not to organise protests, demonstrations, rallies and seminars so as to avoid crowding. Despite the notice, major business markets such as Ason, Indrachowk, New Baneshwor, Koteshwor and footpaths including the major vegetable market in Kathmandu were crowded with people where maintaining physical distance is almost impossible.
A day after the Covid-19 death toll crossed the 10,000 mark, the government on Saturday started the Nepal Mask Campaign with the slogan, “I will wear a mask and encourage others to wear one too.”
To make this campaign successful, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has deployed 1,400 traffic police to check if people are wearing masks.
Like earlier, public gatherings continue to remain banned and restaurants can operate only until 7pm to provide only takeaway services. Likewise, public vehicles operating until 8pm are not allowed to carry passengers beyond their seating capacities and educational institutions are not allowed to run in-person classes.