Kathmandu- Authorities in Nepal appear to have suddenly woken up after a year.
A year since the country imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, officials for the past two days have been scrambling to enforce measures to control the virus spread.
On Friday, a meeting between Kathmandu Chief District Officer Kali Prasad Parajuli and officials from the Department of Transport Management, Metropolitan Traffic Police Office and transport operators decided to make masks compulsory for all those using public vehicles.
The decision follows an announcement by chief district officers of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhakatpur to initiate action against those not wearing masks in public.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health in a statement urged all to avoid rallies, social gatherings and places that see large gatherings of people.
Parajuli, chief district officer of Kathmandu, said the decision to strictly enforce masks in public vehicles was taken because commuters were not doing so.
After a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in India, Nepali officials have expedited discussions to adopt protective measures to prevent and control the possible transmission of the virus.
Parajuli said in the initial phase, people would be made aware why they should wear masks in public places and vehicles.
“Nepal Police, traffic police and officials of the District Administration Office will monitor if the decisions are being properly followed or not,” Parajuli told the Post. “We are planning to provide hand wash facilities at bus stops as well.”
After seeing a steady decline in coronavirus cases, Nepal is reporting a gradual rise in the number of infections of late.
A sudden spike in daily count of coronavirus cases in India too has come as a cause for concern in Nepal.
On Wednesday, the District Administration Office of Kathmandu issued a statement urging the people of Kathmandu to avoid crowds and not celebrate Holi outside their homes.
Holi, the festival of colours, falls on Sunday (March 28).
It had also recommended that people wear masks in public, wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitiser, and follow other health and safety protocols.
Nepal has seen a total of 3,024 Covid-19 related deaths so far with 276,665 people having been infected with the virus.
The country reported 156 new infections in the past 24 hours. Four deaths were reported on Wednesday. Doctors however believe that the official rate of infection is low because people hardly go for polymerase chain reaction tests unless they are severely ill or have to travel abroad for work or study, as the test reports are compulsory while boarding international flights. Source