The Kathmandu District Administration Office (DAO) along with Lalitpur and Bhaktapur DAOs have issued directives mandating people to wear masks in public places, and urged the residents of the Valley to follow health safety guidelines in order to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Issuing individual statements on Wednesday, the three District Administration Offices in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur have urged people to compulsorily wear masks in public places and maintain social-distancing.

Stating that coronavirus cases had gone up in the Kathmandu Valley of late with the increase in people traveling from India, where COVID-19 cases have surged rapidly in past few days, into the Valley – the three DAOs have urged to adhere health safety standards.

Meanwhile, keeping in mind the possibility of a surge in spread of the infection at mass gatherings due to prolonged exposure and contact, the authorities have asked people to celebrate Holi in their homes.

Mass public gatherings and events on Holi, which fall on March 28 and 29 this year, have been discouraged.

A meeting of the District COVID-19 Crisis Management Center held in Lalitpur on Wednesday decided to strictly adhere to wearing masks, using hand sanitizers and maintaining social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.

Assistant Chief District Officer Lalit Kumar Basnet informed that not wearing masks in public places, among other acts of disregard for safety protocols, is a punishable offense and action will be taken as per the Infectious Diseases Act, 2020.

Similarly, Lalitpur DAO has requested to make arrangements to close late-night businesses in Lalitpur after 11:00 pm, avoid crowds while operating businesses, and to follow of health safety protocols.

Bhaktapur DAO has also requested to not hold any kind of fair, procession or cultural function which could attract crowds. The administrations has also instructed to prepare available quarantine and isolation centers for use.

Recently, the Ministry of Health and Population too had issued a statement urging people to follow COVID-19 safety measures given the spike of coronavirus cases in neighbouring India, triggering the second wave of infections following a dip, and its apparent effect in Nepal, especially in the capital.