Covid-19 safety protocol violators face one-year jail term in Nepal

Kathmandu, May 26 (EFE).- Nepal has introduced a series of strict measures, including a year in jail, for breaching Covid-19 safety rules enforced to contain the virulent second wave of the pandemic in the Himalayan nation.

The measures that come into force from Friday include a fine of up to 500,000 Nepali rupees ($4,300) or one-year imprisonment or both for any person blocking supplies of essential drugs or vaccines.

Similarly, an infected person will get a year in jail or can be subjected to the penalty or both if found spreading the virus intentionally.

The harsh rules come into effect as the Himalayan nation struggles to curb the coronavirus surge that has overwhelmed the country’s fragile health system.

Kali Prasad Parajuli, chief district officer of Kathmandu, told EFE that the government decided to extend the lockdown for another week from Friday onwards.

“The restrictions have been tightened amid an unprecedented surge in new Covid-19 infections and deaths across the country,” Parajuli said.

Nepal imposed a two-week lockdown on April 29. The government extended it for another two weeks until May 27.

Parajuli said that the government would implement from Friday the health emergencies and the Covid-19 Crisis Management Ordinance passed by President Bidya Devi Bhandari last week.

Under the ordinance, anyone found without a mask in public will have to pay a fine of 100 Nepali rupees.

Movement restriction violators will have to shell out 200 rupees.

Flouting the Covid-19 safety protocols like hosting parties, large gatherings, protests, and rallies is punishable by up to six months in prison or 300,000 rupees in fine or both.

Likewise, the fines for two-wheelers and four-wheelers are 2000 rupees and 5,000 rupees respectively for plying without a permit, for reasons other than an emergency.

From Friday, grocery shops and departmental stores will not open during the lockdown period.

“Only those selling medicine, milk, green vegetables and food items will be allowed to open from 7 am to 9 am,” according to Parajuli.

After several months of relatively low daily cases in Nepal, infections increased rapidly in mid-April, rising from 150 per day in early April to over 8,000 per day since May 5.

On Wednesday, Nepal reported 6,677 new coronavirus cases, taking the nationwide infection tally to 535,525.

According to the health ministry, 169 people died due to the disease, pushing the countrywide death toll to 6,845. EFE


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