By Aashish Mishra
Kathmandu, July 8: On Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs gave police the right to arrest anyone found not wearing facemasks, effectively making them mandatory when going out in public.
This has been welcomed by experts and people have responded positively to this rule.
Dr. Sameer Mani Dixit, who has been one of the foremost personalities disseminating information about COVID-19 in Nepal, tweeted on Tuesday welcoming the decision and asked the government to further expand on it by formulating specific policies for mask use.
Krijan Man Vaidya, a medical lab technologist, was also happy that the rule was introduced and told The Rising Nepal that, if strictly enforced, it would go a long way in safeguarding public health. Aside from the experts, the general public, too, appeared pleased with the decision and are willing to comply with the instruction.
Jenish Devkota, 23, said that the rule would make places like markets and banks safer. “It was upsetting to see many people without masks roaming around in crowded places. They were putting themselves and others at risk,” he said. “This rule will now force them to take the precaution.”
Prabin Limbu, 63, did not wear masks because he felt it suffocating. But he accepts the decision and is willing to comply with it, albeit begrudgingly. “I guess I have no other choice now.
I have to wear it whether I like it or not,” he chuckled. “I guess I will get used to it after a few days.”
But Alisha Maharjan, 30, is worried about how effectively the rule will be implemented. “The police cannot reach everywhere every time and people will always find excuses for not wearing masks if they don’t want to.”
She also believes that the present rules don’t go far enough. “Masks are just one safety measure we should take. So, rules should be introduced regarding social distancing and the use of sanitizers as well.” But, ultimately, it is all about public awareness, she said. “We are in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic and yet people are taking things casually.
This shows that we have not understood the gravity of the situation.”
– The Rising Nepal