COVID fear looms large with more people entering Manang


The number of workers and employees entering Manang has increased after the nationwide lockdown against COVID-19 pandemic imposed since the night of July 21 was lifted.

With increase in people’s movement leading to subsequent rise in infection rate and the death toll as well, people of Manang are worried as many workers from outside have entered the district. They fear this would contribute to further spread of the virus in the district.

Around 40 to 60 people from different parts of the country are entering the district in search of work opportunities.

They are mainly from Gorkha, Lamjung, Rukum, Rolpa and Rasuwa districts, the Taal Border Police Beat said.

The government has announced some districts including Manang, a part of Gandaki Province, as districts with zero infection. But fear looms large among locals that the district will be plagued by the virus due to uncontrolled people’s inflow.

Chame Rural Municipality Chair Lokendra Ghale said they were concerned about the current situation the district was facing and keeping records of people arriving in the district for work and their probable employers. Such people are allowed to leave for their respective destinations in the district only after undergoing Rapid Diagnostic Test.

Ghale said, any one entering the rural municipality for worker is made to stay in self-quarantine and not to move outside their work stations.

Presently, construction of the District Hospital and District Prison buildings are under way at Chame and the projects are attracting workers from outside the district. Contractors have been urged to ensure safety measures against the virus at the workplace and PCR tests for employees and workers.

Besides, workers have entered Manang Disyang Rural Municipality and Narpabhumi Rural Municipality.

People of Naso Rural Municipality are concerned about the unhindered movement of people in their locality. Naso is being used as a transit point for workers reaching other parts of the district. According to locals, they face multiple effects of the pandemic. On the one hand, their seasonal income has stopped due to the cessation of Yarsa collection while on the other, they face health threat from the virus.

Chief District Officer Pushpa Raj Poudel said increase in people’s movement was expected with the lifting of the lockdown. However, safety measures were in place to prevent and control the virus.

Contractors concerned are given the responsibility of keeping records of people arriving here as workers, according to him.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 10, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.