Kathmandu: Kathmandu Valley is going under lockdown from Thursday (April 29, 6:00 AM). Many other cities in the country are already under lockdown. Like last year, thousands of people are leaving the valley for their hometowns and home villages on the lockdown eve. There is panic in Kathmandu and across the country. Hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid patients. Cases are rising.
Public health experts, however, have suggested lockdown alone does not help in breaking the virus chain and that the lockdown period should not be extended longer, while the government has already extended it up to May 13.
Needless to say, the impact of lockdown on the economy and livelihood will be severe. Schools and colleges have already been shut down, small businesses will be hit hard and daily wage earners will suffer the most.
One: If the government and public health entities work on a war footing to increase bed capacities of hospitals, or create temporary Covid treatment centers, more Covid patients will be able to receive treatment. That will also instill hope and confidence in people. However, the current capacity of hospitals will not be sufficient to treat Covid patients.
Two: Hospitals will be overwhelmed and the frontline workers themselves might also be infected, further adding to the panic.
Three: Like in the past, political parties, both ruling and opposition, will be at the forefront to defy the lockdown protocol. In that case, people might start defying lockdown and coming out of their homes following their footsteps.
Four: Like last year, people in power will allow the movement of their near and dear ones to the communities without screening and testing.
Five: The best-case scenario will be if the citizens and political parties strictly follow the Covid protocols, maintain social distancing and the health facilities increase testing. This will be the best scenario and help break the ongoing infection chain. By mobilizing all mechanisms—from federal to the local level—the government will be able to curb the spread.
Six: Much of whether Nepal will be able to break the transmission chain will depend on how people conduct themselves. If we follow the safety protocols—washing and/or sanitizing hands, wearing masks, and maintaining physical distancing—we will contribute to our as well as others’ safety.
Seven: How well the country will manage the Covid crisis will also depend on how proactively the local government actors—mayors, deputy mayors, and ward chiefs — will work in the days to come. They will be required to identify, trace and isolate the infected to curb the transmission at the community level.
Nepal Live Today’s appeal: The second wave appears to be much more deadly. Follow the safety measures. Stay safe. Let us all act responsibly.