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- After series of contemplations, the government finally decided to relax the lockdown and bring the economic activities back to normal on June 11.
In the first phase of unlocking the nation, the government decided to allow mobility of private vehicles with only rider on two wheelers and two passengers other than the driver on four-wheel vehicles, among others.
As two-wheeler is the basic need of people rather than a luxury, many people have been facing difficulty due to one bike, one person rule.
“The government has finally heard our problems and has decided to ease the lockdown, letting businesses and economy operate,” said Niresh Kunwar, of Pepsicola. “However, the one bike, one person rule introduced by the government has posed difficulty in our loves.”
“I am a banker and my wife works at an insurance company. We both need to go to Tripureshwor and Sundhara daily to perform our job,” he added.
“Although I have a motorbike to myself, I am unable to drop my wife to work. The public transportation service is still halted,” said Kunwar.
The government has tried to bring lives to normalcy by relaxing the lockdown, but it is still difficult for people like us to travel to work daily. Not all people own a car or have transportation service provided by the office, he added.
Like Kunwar, many people on two wheelers are seen riding with passenger despite the rule.
“I am well aware of the fact that the government has prohibited riding double on two wheelers amid COVID-19 scare. I was compelled to break the rule,” said Ashmita Lamichhane.
“My 8-year old son broke his arm and I had to rush him to the hospital right away. I had thought of calling an ambulance but I immediately dropped the idea because the risk of being infected with the virus is higher while using ambulance service,” said Lamichhane.
Thus, I decided to take him to hospital on my own, by scooter, she added. Lamichhane said that the traffic police was considerate enough to let her go to hospital for her son’s treatment. “But I can feel the difficulties faced by a lot of people, especially during emergencies due to the prohibition on two-up riding.”
Meanwhile, the health experts say that there is less possibility of transmission of virus in two-up riding.
“COVID-19 is a virus which transmits from one to another via respiratory droplets,” said Dr Rabindra Pandey, public health expert. “While riding two-up on motorcycle or scooter, the rider and passenger do not face each other. Thus, the chances of transmission of respiratory droplets will automatically be low.”
Unlike cars, bikes and scooters are unenclosed mode of transportation. Getting to feel the fresh air is also one of the perks of riding them, Dr Pandey said. “Even if the rider or the passenger is infected with the virus, the chances of transmission of virus are minimal as both of them are exposed to fresh air.”
Even though the lockdown is relaxed, the threat of spread of virus is still intact and people are aware of it. Almost everyone steps out of their houses with protective gears such as masks, gloves, spectacles and santisers. The riders also wear helmet. All these protective gears minimise the threat of virus spread per se, he added.
To add to that, many passengers on bikes are family members or people the riders are already in contact with. So there’s minimal threat of virus infection, said Dr Pandey. The traffic police say that they were letting people ride double only in reasonable emergency circumstances.
Senior Superintendent of Police and traffic police chief Bhim Prasad Dhakal said, “Our duty calls us to follow and enforce government’s decisions. The decisions taken by the cabinet as to relaxation of lockdown are strictly being implemented.”
Dhakal said that 46 check points were set up and police were deployed at 153 places within the valley to make sure that people don’t defy the new model of lockdown.
“Yet we exempt those from punishment who are in extreme difficulty or emergency,” he added. “All in all, the rules have been made to keep us safe from the virus and all of us must follow them.”
Source : The Rising Nepal