Regularly wash hands, maintain a social distance, stay inside your home, don’t go out and do not spread the virus among the people and be responsible citizens. These taglines are now common words in every social media content whether public speakers, social workers, celebrities or other experts from different fields. People are fed up listening to the news related to the CORONA as our mind is completely being occupied by it since everywhere there is COVID 19. Why it won’t be? Because it is one of the fearful outbreak the human civilization had ever encountered in this 21st Century.
The lockdown that started from 24th March 2020, the day of Ghode Jatra in Nepal had covered over a month now. In these lockdown days, we Nepalese people had only been updated about whether it will be extended or not which is implemented by the Government of Nepal. We don’t know about the further preparations that are being made to minimize this virus outbreak. We had heard twice about the PM’s Sambodhan related to this, but it was like just a usual and traditional speech that we are hearing a long time from political leaders since it could not address the basic and tiny problems that are being faced by the local citizens all over Nepal.
Life is full of uncertainties. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. So if we are prepared from today, it is a mindful act. The most common problem that people face is about going to the hospital. Kathmandu is the center of Nepal, still, we don’t know which hospitals are opened and which are closed. The private hospitals in which we had seen many advertisements during the normal time seems to be silent in these critical hours. We don’t know any update from them whether they are opened or closed. What could we do if we fall sick, what if our family got sick? In such critical and vulnerable matters and those people who don’t have the contact links what will they do? They can’t go out looking for hospitals to check for their health problems because it is an emergency. What is the government actions related to these circumstances remains a question?
It is the condition of one of the facilitated cities of Nepal. But what might be the condition of the remote areas of the country? In these phases of emotional hours, rather we are hearing the news about corruption during the buying of equipment from China. How sad is that to hear such news in these terrible times. It is completely weird to listen to such things.
Similarly, the lockdown periods should be implemented strictly. From the past, many rules and regulations entered Nepal but it did not last long. Maybe it is a zebra crossing rule, compulsory wearing helmets with motorbike riders, restriction of smoking in public places and others. It had just come and gone. The lockdown seems to be more effective in the road area where there is a regular flow of public transport. In the inner cities, where there is a crowd of people, it has not been implemented the way it should be. Lockdown, in general, has taken the office hour time which means people seriously apply the staying home phenomenon during office time i.e. 9-5. After that, the usual schedule starts. It’s just like the CORONA VIRUS has given the free pass tickets after 5 noon.
Why won’t they? People cannot be completely locked for weeks, months. They need to buy the essentials. But, the local shops have no certainties about their opening and closing hours. In that scenario, people panics. Since there is no strict rule, every person from a house comes out during the flexible time of lockdown to buy their requirements creating more risks. Lockdown was initiated for people’s safety. But in such a case, what is the essence of lockdown that was initiated for more than two weeks. So the shops that supply the essential materials should be timely and properly managed along with the people who go to the shops should be strictly supervised so that the local people like us can safely buy the required materials from the shops.
These critical issues should also be addressed by the government immediately. It is been like the awareness vans whether from the cops or local representatives makes us aware of not coming out of our home, be cautious, be prepared but people pass by in the same road. Yes, we know it is easy to say in words but difficult to manage in reality. But it is the prime responsibility of the government entities to manage it strictly as we had made them elect and they had promised to serve this community and society during difficult hours.
Why are the people not properly aware when the World in under threat of this outbreak. We know in our country, it is very difficult to persuade and convince people. Sorry to say but people are still ignorant. Many people still don’t wear a mask when they interact with people. How can local level government implement strategies and plans to cope with these problems stands as the major challenges?
We heard about the relief materials (Rahat) distribution for the people who are not able to feed themselves due to their financial circumstances. It is very good indeed. But apart from that, the government should initiate the alternative method of awareness programs not by gathering the people but by tracing them and delivering the message via the online platform, telephone conversations; convincing them and if not take the suitable actions whenever necessary. It is just an idea apart but there might be other awareness strategies that could be implemented because it is one of the hidden problems which is not looked seriously.
Apart from that, where are the hospitals and clinics if in case this virus outbreak occurs? We can’t only be dependent on Teku Hospital as we know this single hospital could not resist the burden of the millions of people residing in Kathmandu. Just like in the Dengue outbreak, we had already seen the consequences and the difficulties that the people faced when we had only a single alternative to cure. But this recent outbreak is different and very sensitive which supports social distancing and avoids human contact.
As we know, we should always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Every community must be prepared with the emergency hospitals and isolation wards that allow the treatment of patients of this virus suspected people with the required deployment of medical personals so that the people can visit their locally available medical centers. Till now, we have not seen any preventive measures being implemented properly. So the regulating authorities should address the core public needs and work for public safety and ensure that they had at least got something to hope for living life out of fear and unhappiness.