With the second wave of COVID-19 still spreading, the government has strained every nerve to fight the pandemic that has touched most parts of the country. Now the coronavirus has stricken back with a vengeance, infecting and killing rising number of people. On Tuesday alone, 55 people succumbed to the deadly contagion, which is the highest number of coronavirus-induced fatalities the country has registered so far. This led the total number of death toll to 3,417. In a similar manner, around 7,587 new infections were reported on the same day. To date, there are 287,790 cases of recovery, which is 82 per cent while the death rate is 0.97 per cent. This is perhaps the worst health scenario precipitated by the pandemic. It challenges all measures and precautions adopted to avoid the surging of mutant and new variant of the virus.
In order to stop the spread of the virus, the government has extended the ongoing prohibitory order for another week till May 12. According to the news report of this daily, a joint meeting of the Chief District Officers of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts Tuesday decided to enforce stricter stay-at-home order with some changes. It has toughened the rule of opening and shutting down the food stores, departmental stores and other groceries. They are allowed to open only in the morning from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Earlier, they were allowed to run their business from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm also. But food supplying and transporting vehicles can operate till 10:00 am. This time the administration has banned bicycle riding and push-cart business on roads, footpath vending and scrap collection business.
Those wanting to leave the Kathmandu Valley now must show recommendation and commitment letters from their respective local bodies to make sure that they will stay in 10-day quarantine at their home towns. This provision seeks to discipline those people who are negligent and pose a risk to others. The media have reported that even the virus infected persons have left the Valley without informing the concerned medical authorities. Those who have tested COVID-19 positive must stay in home isolation or get admitted to hospital in case his/her health situation deteriorates. The administration has unveiled new rules for employees working for the printing press, security personnel, medicine suppliers, banks and their staff, pharmaceuticals, diplomatic missions, journalists and media houses. The essential service providing vehicles like dairy, garbage vehicle, postal, press, fruits and vegetables and water tankers have been allowed to ply by displaying the documents of their purpose or identity in the front of their windshields.
It is right decision on the part of the local administration to restrict all business and entertainment activities that may spread the virus at a faster rate. In the time of medical emergency, the citizens should follow the prohibitory rules enforced to protect their own lives and that of others. When the first wave of pandemic had showed a sign of abatement, a sense of complacency and carelessness was seen among people. The health experts had time and again warned of dire situation if the general public failed to pay heed to the basic health protocols. In the hindsight, it can be said that there were many lapses in controlling the cross-border movements of people when India was roiled by the second wave of the virus. Now no one should show negligence again. It is a crisis time - and all should join hands to contain the pandemic at any cost.