Weak monitoring increases risk of COVID-19 transmission in public vehicles in Valley

Published On: September 29, 2020 06:15 PM NPT By: Kunga Hyolmo

KATHMANDU, Sept 29: The local administrations of the federal capital of the country, the Kathmandu Valley, had decided to allow public passenger vehicles to ply the roads according to the odd-even rule by following health safety protocols and limiting the number of passengers to half the capacity. However, due to the lack of proper inspection by the responsible governing bodies, the public vehicles are turning into hotspots for COVID-19 transmission.

According to the World Health Organization, there is very high risk of COVID-19 transmission in Public Vehicles if the health safety guidelines are neglected.

The government has made disinfecting the vehicles, using face masks by both the operators and passengers, maintaining social distance and hand hygiene mandatory while operation of public vehicles. But, these rules are seen highly neglected.

Similarly, in a bid to control the congestion of vehicles on the roads, the government has introduced an odd-even rule which is also rarely implemented. The public vehicles operators were directed to collect 50 percent extra fare limiting the number of passenger to half the capacity. However, the operators of such vehicles are not seen abiding by the government directives. Most of the public vehicles operating in the Valley are seen carrying passengers to their full capacity and charging extra 50 percent fare as well.

However, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division and the Department of Transport Management seem unaware about the situation.

According to the latest data from the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, as many as 304 vehicles defying the odd-even rule were intercepted on Tuesday morning. The monitoring body also claims to have conducted inspection on whether or not the vehicle operators are following the health safety guidelines as well.

The Kathmandu Valley has been witnessing more than 700 new cases of COVID-19 daily for the past few days. The Valley recorded 934 new cases on Monday. Health experts believe that the COVID-19 transmission in the Valley has gone out of control as the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has been unable to trace the source of transmission. In this case, the public vehicles seem to have fueled the transmission process.


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