Monday, October 19, 2020

Waiting to Travel Without Fear

COVID-19 Epidemic: The Nepalis Experience

Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal during lockdown (Photo credit: Dipesh Shrestha)

As many countries in the world have lifted the lockdown, controlling the number of cases of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Nepal is still under lockdown for the last 71 days.

Wuhan, the center for the pandemic novel Coronavirus Covid-19 lifted its lockdown after 76 days after number of cases were almost controlled. With more than 7000 cases here as of June 18, 2020 seen here in Nepal and 22 deaths recorded, the country is now in partial lockdown.

The government of Nepal imposed nationwide lockdown on March 24 for a week and kept on extending as the number of cases increased. The nationwide lockdown was partially lifted from mid-June in the places where the number of cases is less. Health officials here are working hard to fight with the spreading and the security personnel are during their best to ensure that people do not come out of their houses during the lockdown.

I came to my home in Kathmandu, Nepal in first week of January from Beijing, China. At the time when I left my University (Communication University of China), I hadn’t even heard of any news regarding the virus. After almost 2 weeks of my arrival in Nepal, the news of virus was trending everywhere and Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak and many cities were locked down to contain the virus.

Here in my neighborhood, many people started staring at me and asking me if the virus had spread before I left China. Even though they did not tell me directly, their intention was clear that they were hesitant to be close to me as if I had carried the virus along with me.

Many of my friends in social media asked me satirically, “Hope we can meet you without any fear.”

The situation here for many coming to Nepal after the outbreak was even worse. They were treated very badly and people not willing to even talk to them. There was a news that some people were ignored by the community and few who were staying on rented apartment were asked by the house owners to move.

As most of my husband’s family are from health sector, we were very conscious and taking all precautions to ensure that we don’t get infected. However, as my husband is a photojournalist, he has to go out every day even during this time of lock down and somehow that makes me and my family worried. My mother calls me every day to make sure that my husband comes back from work early and safe.

I have been spending my time indoors reading, watching news and using social media. However, it has been difficult for me to engage my 6-year old daughter inside the room. She keeps complaining that she feels bored staying indoors. Currently, she has started making various paper crafts and paintings, however she still complains of not being able to go to school.

As the corona virus has killed more than 440,000 (as of June 18) since last December when it as officially reported for the first time by health authorities in Wuhan, the most important thing every individual should do is stay inside the house until it is really important to go out.

However, many Nepalis here are not serious in this regard and are disobeying the lockdown imposed by the government. What makes me annoyed is the people’s negligence and thinking and not realizing that the lockdown is for their own safety, their family, the society and the whole world.

After the virus being spread from Wuhan in last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions across the world. While China has almost defeated the novel coronavirus, the epicenter of the spread shifted to Europe with number of deaths in Spain, Italy, France and even the United States. Now, currently the number of cases in India is rising and as Nepal has open border with India, the cases seen in Nepal are mostly from those coming from India. As China has largely come out of crisis and life is getting back to normal, there are many lessons we can learn from this country which has put all its efforts to combat the fight against the coronavirus.

Every country in the world must learn that like China did, we should be able to act quickly and take serious measures.

Besides, it is important the test be rapid and everyone get access to the test facilities free of cost and if not possible, it should be affordable. In addition to these the entry points should be highly monitored and tracing of the infected and isolation plays very important role.

After all, the public attitudes play and important role and every individual should fight together against this and the most important way we can help combat this fight is to stay indoors. Let’s stay home!

While urging everyone to stay home I also wait for the day when life gets back to normal and we can celebrate the victory against the novel coronavirus. I wait for the day when travel bans across the world are lifted and I can without any fear travel back to Communication University of China where I can make my dream of completing my doctoral degree (PhD) come true.

#kathmandu #Nepal #lockdown #csjreport #china #wuhan #covid19china #covid19 #communicationuniversityofchina

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