Trace and test

Published On: March 26, 2020 08:36 AM NPT By: Republica

Yet another person has been tested positive of Covid-19 on Wednesday, according to National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) of Ministry of Health, making the number of total positive cases three out of the total tests of 687.  That Nepal has not had to witness fatality so far is a matter of relief but many think that we have negligible positive cases because Nepali health authorities have not tested the people. To test the people, health facilities must have protective gears and test kits as well, which they do not have.  Worldwide, the number of infection is rising. So is the number of deaths too. In this context, Nepali authorities must do at least two vital things to ensure that the pandemic can be contained.   First, trace.  Health authorities need to trace all persons the infected came into contact with and bring them to medical facilities. They should be tested and even if they are found negative they should be put in quarantine depending on the severity of the case.  For the moment, it is crucial to trace the contacts and whereabouts of all those who were in contact with two persons recently tested positive.  And then, having traced them, health authorities should test all of them. Given the speed in which Covid-19 is spreading, health authorities should test every individual who has the symptoms of flu and fever.

Alert, more alert

Published On: March 25, 2020 10:14 AM NPT By: Republica

The Covid-19 has now become a reality for Nepal. Until Monday, Nepal had only one positive (and a recovered) case. Now another person, who recently returned from France, has been tested positive and she is undergoing treatment at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku. With this, panic level among people has sharply increased. Perhaps considering the seriousness of the case after this incident, the government on Monday enforced complete lockdown of the country. It is clear that the government had to announce this drastic measure after the appeal to the people to stay home, not to travel and thus take care of themselves went in vain. The curfew-like situation that has started from Tuesday morning has worked considerably well. Streets are empty and vehicles are not seen on the streets.  But this, it seems, is true only in the main streets of the valley. Outside of the Ring Road and in inner streets, people don’t seem to care about the lockdown.

Threat to resist

Published On: March 24, 2020 10:02 AM NPT By: Republica

First it was about what prevents people from contracting coronavirus: Take a little bit of alcoholic drinks, eat garlic and turmeric, take some cow urine, even dung.  Then it shifted to what causes the infection: the person who lives and comes from the country affected by the virus.  So there was racial attack on people who looked like Asian, Chinese to be particular, and they were insulted and even blamed to be the carriers of the disease.  In three months since the outbreak of coronavirus, which later took pandemic proportion, and which is ravaging the whole world at the moment, disinformation, misinformation and wrong information about the source of the virus, its infection rate and remedies have become the subject of deep worry for the countries which are struggling to combat the disease as well as the countries which are struggling to prevent its outbreak.  Nepal has not been the exception to this trend.

Go For a National Lockdown Immediately

Published On: March 23, 2020 07:00 PM NPT By: Republica

These are extraordinary times and require extraordinary measures from the government including declaration of a nationwide lockdown. A 19-year-old Nepali woman has tested positive for COVID-19. She traveled to Nepal from France via a Qatar Airways flight on March 17. This case should raise alarm bells for us all. We should urgently take a bold decision to implement a nation-wide lockdown.

More measures

Published On: March 23, 2020 10:55 AM NPT By: Republica

By all means, we are living through the most dangerous times in history since the World War II. Countries are being ravaged by the disease, economies are falling apart, people are dying.  Even the countries with supposedly the best health systems—America, Germany, France, UK, for example— are failing to save their citizens. Italy alone lost over 700 people on Sunday. The world is in panic. In Nepal, we do not have resources needed to put things in place.  Despite this, the government has taken some of the measures to keep the country and people safe from the contagion of the pandemic.

Responsibility of rich

Published On: March 22, 2020 10:38 AM NPT By: Republica

As the coronavirus pandemic is ravaging the world, some of the richest people are generously contributing to help out those in need, including the governments of the affected countries and their health institutes. Bill Gates, the world’s second-richest person, has announced 100 million dollar aid through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the cause of combating the pandemic. Alibaba founder Jack Ma, the second-richest person in China, has pledged $14 million from his foundation to help develop coronavirus vaccine.

Local initiative

Published On: March 19, 2020 10:23 AM NPT By: Republica

As the threat of coronavirus pandemic is looming, some local governments have stepped up efforts to produce face masks and hand sanitizers of which the residents across Nepal have faced acute shortage already. It is months since these two vital items to protect oneself from possible infection stopped being available in the market. Apart from black marketing, scarcity of these items is the result of our dependence on countries like China and India wherefrom we import them. It seems things are slowly changing.

Prepare for the worst

Published On: March 18, 2020 10:42 AM NPT By: Republica

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting economy of all the countries. Big economies like China and the US have suffered badly already. Nepal will be no exception. Thus  the major focus of the country, apart from concentrating efforts on preparedness, prevention and cure (when the outbreak starts), should be on how to keep our economy from failing in these times of crisis. The government needs to take every possible measure to ensure that businesses do not suffer irreparable damage, people do not have to go hungry due to lack of basic supplies and the development works do not suffer a major setback. The time to focus on these aspects is now, for though we have been lucky enough so far we might not remain unaffected in the days to come.

Together we win

Published On: March 17, 2020 09:41 AM NPT By: Republica

Leaders from South Asia came together on Sunday with a resolve to wage a collective fight against the coronavirus that has now become a global pandemic. In the first-ever video conference between the leaders of eight SAARC countries, they agreed to initiate joint efforts to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 by setting up a regional mechanism.

Who did this?

Published On: March 16, 2020 10:32 AM NPT By: Republica

When the terms of transitional justice bodies—Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP)—came to an end in April, 2019, one of the major concerns of the victims as well as the rights activists was what would happen to the complaints filed at TRC and CIEDP? Will they be protected? Who will protect those documents so that the top officials to succeed the chief commissioners and commissioners of these bodies will be able to build on whatever little progress made over the years? Will the victims be provided justice?