KATHMANDU, March 24: As the government ordered a week-long lockdown across nation in a bid to contain possible the COVID-19 outbreak after a 19-year-old girl was tested positive on Monday, the bustling major cities of the country including the capital have become silent.
Markets, shops, malls and almost all of the public and private offices except “those delivering essential services such as health institutions, telecom” have been closed while people have rarely come to of their house.
Only a few private vehicles which include ambulances, security vehicles, vehicles delivering essential goods and media vans can be seen on the street.
Traffic Police and Nepal Police have been busy interrogating some who have come out and advising them to stay home.
The directives under lockdown states that one violating the lockdown may face a jail sentence up to six months or penalized Rs 600 or has to face both punitive actions.
The government has suspended all the domestic and international flights and halted long-route bus services, the Tribhuvan International Airport which is usually crowded and bus parks and ticket stations have emptied.
The nationwide lockdown — as per the Clause 2(2) of Infectious Disease Act-2020 — comes as part of the government’s effort to prevent the spread of the global pandemic after National Public Health Laboratory confirmed the country’s second case on the Nepali student who traveled to Nepal from France via Qatar transit on March 17.
Reports have claimed that she had traveled with a Vietnamese national up to Qatar transit and she carried the infection from the person.
As she had returned to home from France, one of the worst hit regions by the COVID-19, she had self-quarantined herself until when she started complaining of fever, sore throat and other influenza-like symptoms.
She has been kept in isolation and receiving treatment at the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku.
All her family members have been quarantined while the search for those who traveled with her in the same flight are underway.
The death toll from the virus has surpassed 15,000 and infected 341,000 people worldwide, with Europe new epicenter.
Photos: Mukunda Kalikote