The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has finally made its way into Nepal. After the recent lockdown implemented by the government, Nepal is ready to press the panic button. Since the first case, that was confirmed back on Jan 24, there has been an addition of two new cases till date. Although, a little too late government imposed travel bans from countries which have somewhat helped to reduce the risk of an outbreak. The Sukraraj Tropical & Infectious Disease hospital-being the only hospital currently able to test the disease- has tested only about 610 patients due to the limited number of testing kits available.Along with this pandemic, many misinformation has also made its way to Nepal. From government hiding infected cases to different misleading treatments, coronavirus has spread rumors rather than the disease itself. Not only that, some people have even taken advantage of the situation by creating fake shortages and selling goods in the black market mainly masks and sanitizers.
Economically corona has caused a trade stoppage from China and India-the two giants Nepal relies on- creating a shortage of goods. But this time around, the economy is a little less to worry about as a possible mass outbreak is on hand if necessary actions aren’t taken on time.
As precautionary measures is not a forte of Nepalese people and health care facilities are nowhere close to being okay enough to handle a mass outbreak, Nepalese should realize that the best way to fight is staying home. People’s judgment still seems to be clouded by the thoughts that this disease isn’t as deadly as is seems. A high number of misbeliefs such as Nepalese are immune to this strain has made people ignorant about the effects of this virus.
But here’s the problem. Even though the government announced a complete lockdown since 23rd March, people still have not realized the threats. From creating misinformation to neglecting the orders, people aren’t taking this matter seriously. Even if Nepal does not have a surge of cases now, there is every likelihood that we will have to deal with an outbreak next winter. Also, how COVID-19 will interact with a summer dengue outbreak like last year in Kathmandu is anyone’s guess. It is important to be prepared with preventive aspects.
We’ve already seen the debacle of many powerful countries. So let’s not panic, but be concerned. What awaits us is truly a matter of life or death.