Nepal | August 06, 2020

Jhapa at high risk of COVID-19 spread

Himalayan News Service
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The random entry of vehicles carrying goods and other daily essentials via Jhapa’s Bhadrapur border point has increased the risk of coronavirus spread in Jhapa.

Vehicular movement through the border remains halted, but with import and export opening, vehicles ferrying goods and commodities have started entering the country.

However, drivers, workers and vehicles have been entering the country without undergoing health checkup.

For want of health checkup and availability of sanitisers, the risk of COVID spread has become worrisome.

Vehicles loaded with goods and commodities from India’s Siliguri, Bihar and West Bengal have been entering Nepal. As a result, coronavirus has spread at the community level in Jhapa. Personnel of Nepal Police and APF are allowing Nepal-bound vehicles to enter the country without health check-up.

Locals fear that such carelessness at the customs office and border points might lead to virus spread at the community level.

Bhadrapur Customs Office Chief Phadindra Khatiwada said that goods were coming to Nepal without any checking. “No safety measures have been adopted at the customs gate,” said Khatiwada.

Bhadrapur Ward Police Office Inspector Dambar Puri said that a team of health workers from Bhadrapur Municipality was deployed to the border point earlier.

But, no health workers have been mobilised for health check-up now. Vehicles are sent directly to the customs office, goods are unloaded and sent back, said Inspector Puri.

APF Inspector Bibhu Dahal said he was deployed to the entry point of late.

“Drivers, vehicles and workers do not undergo any health check-up on the Nepali side of the border,” Dahal said.

Staffers at the Customs office can be seen frisking clothes and other goods coming from India without wearing face masks. They appear to have violated social distancing norms.

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

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