All have been advised to adhere to social distancing rules and health protocols to battle virus


A loudspeaker placed at one corner near the peepal tree at New Road can be heard reciting the new prohibitory orders imposed by the government inside Kathmandu Valley to last till August 11. It repeatedly speaks of social distancing rules and other health protocols to curb the COV- ID-19 pandemic along with different businesses that can be operated.

However, the scene at New Road, one of the major business hubs in the capital, stands in stark contrast to the nature of the prohibitory order explained from the loudspeaker.

The government has clearly stated that people must avoid crowds and maintain at least two-metre distance outside the house. But, at least 30 people gathered around the loudspeaker and hundreds walked on the pavements. People were completely violating health protocols. They neither used sanitisers, nor wore face masks. The government has also banned mass protests, but scores of people living in the squatter settlement of Lukuntali had hit the street in Jadibuti this evening to protest against the government's decision to scrap the Landless Commission. An equal number of police personnel was also deployed in the area to tackle the protest.

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Gathering at temples and other religious sites is also banned, but many Hindu women and men can be seen gathering at various Shiva shrines, especially on Mondays.

The Chief District Officers of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur districts had issued the prohibitory order and told THT that the new restrictions would be imposed the more strictly than on previous days.

More confusion has emerged among people and businesspersons as the CDOs have not clarified some of the new rules. For instance, the prohibitory order did not mention whether swimming pools and gymnasiums would be allowed to operate.

But, many gymnasiums, and health clubs started operating from today.

When asked about the confusion, Kathmandu CDO Kali Prasad Parajuli told THT that they had allowed health related business and activities such as gymnasiums, health clubs, spa or Jacuzzis to operate.

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Similarly, the prohibitory order was also violated in public buses and restaurants. No public vehicles are allowed to carry more passengers than the seat capacity, while restaurants are only allowed to operate takeaway services and deliveries.

But, many public vehicles can seen ferrying more people than the seat capacity, while small eateries can be seen crowded with people.

Regarding the violation of rules, Parajuli said they have directed police to implement the prohibitory orders strictly.

He, however, also stressed that it was peoples' responsibility to follow the rules sincerely.

"Despite police efforts, it is also not possible to curb the COVID-19 situation until people follow the new rules."

A version of this article appears in the print on August 6 2021, of The Himalayan Times.