#COVID-19 in Kathmandu Valley

Police arrest 1,860 pedestrians, seize 1,103 vehicles for flouting prohibitory orders on the first day of lockdown

Published On: August 20, 2020 06:45 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Those held were counselled about the risk of COVID-19 before their release

KATHMANDU, Aug 20: As many as 1,860 pedestrians have been held by the Nepal Police in the Kathmandu Valley for breaching the prohibitory order issued by the local administrations to curb the spread of COVID-19.

According to Metropolitan Police Office (MPO), Ranipokhari, police held pedestrians, who had come out of their houses without any emergency or work. “At least 442 pedestrians were held from various parts in Kathmandu district. As many as 359 pedestrians in Bhaktapur district and 1,059 pedestrians in Lalitpur district were also held for breaching prohibitory orders issued by the local administration,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Susheel Yadav, who is also the spokesperson for the MPO.

Those held for violating prohibitory orders were counselled by police about the risk of COVID-19 and subsequently released on condition that they would not violate the prohibitory order again. “We held the violators on the sidewalks for one-two hours, before being counselled about the risk of the virus,” said Yadav, adding that those who had come out of their houses for genuine causes were not obstructed by police.

Those apprehended on Thursday for breaching the prohibitory order held were released charging any fines. As per the Infectious Disease Control Act, 1964, people flouting prohibitory orders could land in prison for six months or fined Rs 100, or both. 

But police have taken a softer approach urging people not to come out of their homes again unless there is something urgent. Police officials said they may have to take action if people continued violating despite their counsellings and polite request. 

On the first day of the lockdown in Kathmandu Valley, 821 two-wheelers were also seized by Traffic Police in Kathmandu Valley. From 6 am to 5 pm, traffic police have held at least 821 two-wheelers and 282 four-wheelers from various parts of Kathmandu Valley for breaching lockdown orders, according to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.

The vehicles held by Traffic Police were also released without charging fines. “The drivers were counselled, and their vehicles were held on the roadside for at least an hour,” according to SSP Yadav.

On Tuesday, a meeting of the local administrations of Kathmandu Valley – Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts – decided to impose the prohibitory order in the Valley for a week in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. The local administrations decided to impose a prohibitory order as the Kathmandu Valley was recording almost 100 new COVID-19 cases every day.

In the last 20 days alone, the Valley has recorded at least 2,123 COVID-19 cases. After the government lifted the 120-day long nationwide lockdown beginning March 24, cases in the Kathmandu Valley started seeing a sudden spike as people from various other parts of the country as well as from India flocked to the Valley. 

Currently, there are 11,555 active COVID-19 cases across the country, with almost 2,000 cases in Kathmandu Valley alone. 

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