All non-essential public and private vehicles will not be allowed to operate in the Kathmandu Valley after 8:00 pm from Thursday.

As per the decision of the Chief District Officers of Kathmandu Valley on Tuesday, non-essential vehicles will not be allowed to operate at night time. Transport operators have been asked to ply vehicles from 9 pm to 5 am to transport construction materials.

Amid sharp rise in daily COVID-19 caseload and as a strict reaction to the increased flow of traffic during night time, the meeting decided to ban the movement of all vehicles after 8 pm, except for emergencies.

This rule will be implemented till August 24.

Public entertainment sectors including cinema halls, dance halls, party palaces, gyms, swimming pools, and clubs, among others will remain closed – similar to the previous decisions regarding prohibitory orders.

The shops, allowed to open, will also have to close at 7:00 pm and will need to adopt health standards during operation.

With the steady rise in daily reported COVID-19 cases in the Valley, authorities had decided to extend the ongoing prohibitory period on August 10, making changes on rules related to vehicular movement.

However, the meeting of CDOs has kept other restrictions the same as earlier arrangements.

“I was going to my home, located at Thamel, from my office at Teku on Wednesday night at around 8:30 pm. There were police checking at three places and they stopped me and checked my belongings thoroughly,” said Karuna Sunuwar.

Although the rule is applicable from today, the Nepal Police and Traffic Police have started strict checking inside the valley during night-time since the day notice was made public.

The COVID-19 infection rate has been increasing in the Kathmandu Valley for the last two weeks. As reported by various hospitals in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur, the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) have already been packed with COVID patients and the Valley denizens might face a shortage of general beds in the coming days if the cases continue to surge at the same rate.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, Kathmandu Valley recorded 964 new infections on Wednesday. Of these, 663 cases were confirmed in Kathmandu, 192 in Lalitpur and 109 in Bhaktapur.

According to Dr Anup Bastola, director at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, the flow of COVID-19 patients had increased in the hospital in the last 15 days. “Of the 40 beds separated for infected patients, 25 are currently occupied. Similarly, the 24-bed ICU has already been packed,” said Dr Bastola.

TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj (TUTH) has also seen a rise in the flow of infected patients. “All 40 ICU beds have been filled with COVID-19 patients and of them, 17 are in ventilator,” said Dr Santa Kumar Das, COVID focal person at the TUTH, adding, “The hospital has separated 115 general beds for treatment of virus-infected people and of them, 85 are currently occupied.”

Sajan Rajbhandari, media coordinator of the HAMS Hospital, informed that all 13 ICU beds at the hospital were filled with COVID patients. “Currently, five patients are under treatment with ventilator facility. Also, 42 out of 49 general beds are also in use for the treatment of infected people,” said Rajbhandari.

Media coordinator at Norvic Hospital Somnath Bastola said that all 36 beds including 17 general beds and 19 ICU beds separated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients were packed. “We are compelled to refer new patients to other hospitals due to the shortage of beds,” said Bastola.