Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population has sent a proposal to the cabinet for a “semi-lockdown" in Kathmandu Valley
Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population has sent a proposal to the cabinet for a “semi-lockdown" in Kathmandu Valley.
The ministry proposal comes in the wake of a rise in the number of cases in the Valley at an exponential rate after the lockdown was lifted in the third week of July.
“To prevent the situation from going out of control, we have proposed semi-lockdown immediately,” a senior official at the ministry, who did not want to be identified, told the Post. “We hope that the Cabinet will heed our proposal to prevent a possible catastrophic situation.”
According to the official, the ministry’s proposal to impose semi-lockdown entails shutting down public transportation services, hotels, restaurants and roadside eateries where people gather in masses without maintaining physical distancing.
The ministry has also urged the Cabinet to shut gyms, beauty parlours, barber shops and massage centres which it says are operating despite not getting permission even after lifting of the lockdown. The ministry has also proposed restrictions on public movements.
As of Wednesday, Kathmandu Valley has reported 787 Covid-19 cases. The national Covid-19 tally reached 21,390, with 60 deaths. In Bagmati Province, where the Kathmandu Valley falls, there are 800 active cases, according to the Health Ministry.
Lifting of the lockdown on July 21 has resulted in increased people’s movement in the Valley, making it difficult for the authorities to conduct contact tracing, the most effective tool to break the virus transmission chain.
Hospitals designated for Covid-19 treatment in the Valley have already been overwhelmed and dozens of infected people are still at their homes.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday held a discussion with experts from various fields including public health on ways to contain the virus and measures the government should take.
When the government imposed the lockdown, there were only two Covid-19 cases in the country. Public health experts for long have argued that the government failed to utilise the lockdown period to set up quarantine and isolation facilities, increase hospital beds, provide training to health workers and expand tests.