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People flout covid protocols

People getting less cautious as the no. of covid cases increases


Nepalnews
2021 Mar 29, 17:14, Kathmandu
A pamphlet mentions

The year 2020 began with the world literally shutting down. No one, even in the world of medicine, had ever anticipated that we would be struck by the devastating COVID-19 that would wreak so much havoc. Businesses closed down, people lost their livelihood. Governments imposed restrictions that made it difficult to travel across borders.

Wearing a face mask and using hand sanitisers became the new normal. Pharmaceutical companies raced to develop vaccines against the virus and by the end of the year a few were able to introduce vaccines that had at least 70 percent efficacy.

The government in Nepal too had imposed a lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, we had a months-long lockdown starting from March 24 till July 21. People here too adopted precautionary measures and a face mask was no more considered an accessory to save oneself just from the dust but from the bigger perils of contracting the virus.

It has been quite a while now things have started getting back to normal in our country. Businesses have opened up and people have begun going back to their daily routine. However, one concerning factor is many have started throwing caution to the wind and we can see many people on the streets without wearing a face mask. Even the public buses and tempos have started getting crowded like in the pre-COVID days. And one question that keeps cropping up in conversations is whether the virus has really gone away for good.

One of the three children is seen wearing a mask in Battisputali area of Kathmandu, on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo: Sarbesh Dhungana/NepalNews
One of the three children is seen wearing a mask in Battisputali area of Kathmandu, on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo: Sarbesh Dhungana/NepalNews

What is even more worrying at present is the fact that the number of persons being infected with the coronavirus in India has been rising of late. People there are talking about the second wave. And since India lies in close proximity to Nepal, not only geographically but in terms of cross-border exchange of goods and movement of people there is fear now that we too could be hit with the second wave.

As of March 28, the number of new cases in Nepal has reached 276,839. Yet, when one visits any temple or shopping centre or a restaurant, most people seem to have avoided wearing masks.

People are seen without mask in Tilganga, Kathmandu, on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo: Sarbesh Dhungana/NepalNews
People are seen without mask in Tilganga, Kathmandu, on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo: Sarbesh Dhungana/NepalNews
Two children are seen without mask in Battisputali, Kathmandu, on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo: Sarbesh Dhungana/NepalNews
Two children are seen without mask in Battisputali, Kathmandu, on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo: Sarbesh Dhungana/NepalNews

To make certain that the virus remains under the control the District Administration Offices have issued a warning stating that those not wearing masks or not following the necessary safety measures will be prosecuted as per the Communicable Disease Act 2020.

Public gatherings of more than 30 people have also been banned according to the recent press release.

As per the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population and chief of the Health Coordination Department, Dr Jageshwor Gautam, “The main punishment for not wearing a mask and not being careful is contracting the disease itself.”

The government can issue a hundred warnings but if the people do not follow them then those alerts amount to nothing, he states, adding that individuals also need to be cautious at the personal level. “Meting out punishments to people not following safety protocols is not a long-term solution I would say,” Dr Gautam mentions.

When asked about the risk to Nepal due to the second wave of the virus hitting India, Dr Gautam says, “We are more than prepared.” He shares that border controls have been made stricter. “We also have enough hospital beds.

He further informs that the police too have been helping out to make people aware of the necessity of wearing a mask. “In fact, they have been handing out masks to people not wearing one on the streets,” he shares.

Two persons seen without mask in Bhimsengola, Kathmandu, on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo: Sarbesh Dhungana/NepalNews.
Two persons seen without mask in Bhimsengola, Kathmandu, on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo: Sarbesh Dhungana/NepalNews.

So, the question now is when will people start to take the responsibility for their own health and lives? 

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