KATHMANDU, March 22: After the government decided to shut down all private and public organizations except “essential ones” and halt the all long route bus service from March 22 as its preparedness to prevent the possible outbreak of COVID-19 on Friday, the number of people leaving the capital city Kathmandu has increased.
According to Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, 130,000 people left Kathmandu for their home town on Friday while 206,000 left the town on Saturday. About 56,647 have left the city till 10:00 am today.
Since March 18, about 500,000 people have left the capital.
But the number of people entering Kathmandu is comparatively fewer. Only 194, 000 people came to the capital in three days, according to the Division.
Although Nepal has confirmed only one imported case of COVID-19 so far, the government has stepped up precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak.
The virus has killed more than 13,000 people and infected more than 300,000 worldwide as the pandemic has forced a lockdown in 35 countries including Europe’s new epicenter Italy.
In Nepal, theaters, cinema halls, cultural centers, stadiums have been closed until April 30. The Secondary School Examination and TU Examination have been halted and the hospitals have been directed to stop the OPD and surgical services till April 12. The government has also expanded travel ban to Europe and the Middle East until April 15 whereas visa-on-arrival to all foreign nationals remain suspended until April 30.
The government has also forbidden gatherings of more than 25 people in public places such as party palace, temples, gumbas, mosques and church to avoid the risk of infection and spread of the virus.
However, despite the government instructions to avoid crowds, the city dwellers have crowded the bus parks and ticket counters amid risks since they do not want to miss their ride home.
And many of them fear the outbreak in the city areas as Nepal remains a high-risk area for the virus.
Metropolitan Traffic Police Division SP Jeevan Kumar Shrestha said they have mobilized additional police teams to prevent the crowds in public areas.
The valley traffic has also launched awareness programs to prevent the virus.