Prohibition orders in effect in the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley since April 29 have been extended until June 28 with some relaxation, such as the implementation of an odd-even number rule for traffic. vehicles and authorization to operate every other day.
A meeting of the three district chiefs of the valley announced on Sunday the decision to relax the lockdown rules from Tuesday given the drop in cases of Covid-19 infections in the valley.
âIt was decided to allow vehicles to run on the basis of the odd-even number rules. Even taxis will be allowed to circulate, âsaid Dhundi Prasad Niraula, head of the Lalitpur district.
“It will take some time to lift the restriction on public vehicles as the situation has still not improved to the desired level.”
The three local administrations of the Kathmandu valley have also decided to authorize the opening of shops and businesses every other day.
âWhile grocery stores and department stores will be allowed to open until 11 am daily, various other stores will remain open from 11 am to 4 pm and 11 am to 6 pm,” said Prem Prasad Bhattrai, chief of Bhaktapur district.
According to the notice published by the District Administrative Office, Kathmandu, jewelry stores, electronics stores and auto stores will be allowed to open on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Shopping malls, clothing stores, gift shops, sportswear stores and cosmetics stores will be allowed to operate on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
Previously, authorities had allowed stores selling essential items to operate until 11 a.m.
Restaurants have been allowed to offer take-out until 7 p.m. Likewise, stores for building supplies, bathroom fixtures and fittings, and furniture stores have been allowed to open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Vehicles carrying construction materials were also allowed to travel at night.
Daily cases of Covid-19 declined after peaking on May 11 when the country confirmed a record 9,317 new infections. As of April 29, when the banning orders were imposed in the valley, 4,831 cases had been reported nationwide.
As of Sunday, the number of new daily infections in the country had fallen to 1,421 with 51 deaths.
While authorities in the Kathmandu Valley district plan to ease lockdown rules, the Covid-19 Crisis Management Center (CCMC), the government body responsible for the containment of Covid-19, is reportedly working on the implementation of ‘a “smart lock”.
CCMC deputy secretary and chief information officer Madhav Prasad Dhungel said they plan to implement “smart locks” across the country from next week.
âSmart Lockdown is a modality where lockout restrictions will be relaxed after assessing the conditions of particular areas,â Dhungel said. âWe analyze the situation of each individual district. The prohibition orders or the lockdown will be relaxed depending on the Covid-19 situation of a particular district. ”
However, the use of the term ‘smart’ drew some criticism, as the country was unable to close or tighten the porous border with India when the second wave of Covid-19 was raging on the southern border. And yet the movement of people along the 1,800-kilometer border is still unregulated as thousands of people cross each other’s territory every day.
âThere is no intelligence in the government’s approach. He could have tightened the border with India. This is not the case and the situation has become serious here, âsaid Dr Baburam Marasaini, former director of the Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control.
He said the government should work to break the chain of transmission of the virus by identifying the infected areas.
He compared the government’s plan of “smart locks” to that of “smart cities”, “smart toilets” and “smart solar lights” that did not materialize.
Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, head of the clinical research unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, said he did not know what exactly “smart lock” means. âI don’t know the term. I guess the government is trying to jumpstart the economy amid the lockdown, âPun said.