Amid the resurgence of the coronavirus infections and related fatalities in recent weeks, the government has issued prohibitory order in the Kathmandu Valley which will come into effect from April 29. The COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) had recommended the enforcement of the prohibitory order considering the fast spreading of the virus which a meeting of the Council of Ministers approved on Monday. The order will be implemented by the local administration. The District Administration Offices of Katmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur held a joint meeting and decided to implement the order. The restriction on human movement and activities aims at breaking the chain of virus transmission in order to bring the infections under control. As per the order, operation of all the public and private transport vehicles have been prohibited except for those used to provide essential and emergency services.
All kinds of gatherings including meetings, seminars and conferences have been restricted. Cinemas, party venues, swimming pools, shopping malls, entertainment centres, salons, beauty parlours, gyms, libraries, museums, sports facilities and zoo will be closed. Human movements and contacts provide the medium for the spread of the deadly virus. As humans are the carriers of the virus, movement restriction is essential to cut off the path of transmission. In this regard, everybody entering the Kathmandu Valley is required to go under quarantine or stay at home isolation. The concerned local administration will take charge of monitoring and isolation. People may stay in surveillance if they are kept in holding centres or quarantines but monitoring is often difficult regarding the home isolation. In the past lockdown situations, people were seen travelling at night and using secret routes to enter the Valley. Such tendencies must come to an end in which individual citizens must develop a sense of responsibility. If they have some urgent cause for travel, they should contact concerned personnel and find a way to solve the problem.
In many countries, infections have gone out of control when people defied administrative orders and acted irresponsibly. This way, the virus spreads wider and the pandemic only protracts. The more effective the restrictive move, the sooner we can win over the virus. However, life has to go on and the daily needs of essential supplies, health emergencies and shelter need to be addressed. For this reason, stores supplying essential food items and water will be allowed to open in the morning and in the evening. Pharmacies and medical stores will not be closed. Restrictive measures do bring difficulties to people from all walks of life. But we cannot ignore them because negligence on our part only makes our battle against the pandemic weaker.
Abnormal time calls for abnormal response and avoiding contacts, maintaining physical distance, wearing face masks, frequently washing hands, applying sanitisers and helping build awareness of safety measures can bring a lot of positive results. The second wave of COVID-19 is spreading in critical level in India and free movement of people across the border with the southern neighbour is affecting Nepal, too. If we cannot restrict the border movement, we must tightly screen it. The use of unusual routes to cross the border must be monitored and stopped. In this regard, we need to be wise enough to act before it is too late.