Ambulance caught carrying passengers

Bajura, April 15

An ambulance belonging to Swamikartik Rural Municipality, Bajura, was found carrying passengers in violation of the lockdown.

Bajura District Police Office Chief Tanka Prasad Bhattarai said the ambulance registered as Sudurpaschim 001 Jha 391 was carrying passengers from Nepalgunj. The ambulance was returning to Bajura with six passengers. All the passengers were from Swamikartik Rural Municipality, said police. Police said that one of the six passengers was a paralytic patient.

Chief District Officer Ganga Prasad Neupane said the ambulance had violated the lockdown by carrying passengers.

He said a case would be filed against the ambulance driver.

Police said they had tried to stop the ambulance in Achham itself, but it was released after assurance that all the six persons would be kept in quarantine in Bajura.

Bajura District Health Office Chief Daya Krishna Panta said the passengers had put the district at high risk of COVID-19.

He said that the government had imposed the nationwide lockdown to prevent possible outbreak of the virus, but the ambulance driver did not seem to understand the gravity of the situation.

Chairman Chiranjibi Shahi of the rural municipality said of the six persons, three were sick. However, police said there was only one sick person in the ambulance.

Shahi said the rural municipality had not asked the ambulance driver to bring people.

“They will stay in quarantine,” he added. Police said the ambulance had been taken under control.

Earlier, another ambulance belonging to Bahrabisa Red Cross branch was found carrying passengers during the lockdown. The ambulance registered as Se 1 Cha 524 was caught carrying 10 passengers from Dhangadi to Bajura a few days ago.

People have not stopped entering Bajura from other districts. Locals said that the risk of COVID-19 spread had increased due to negligence of the authorities concerned with regard to stopping people’s movement across districts.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 16, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.