Photo courtesy: Surya Thapa, press aide to Prime Minister KP Oli
KATHMANDU, Aug 5: As coronavirus cases are increasing at an alarming rate after the government lifted the nationwide lockdown, public health experts have suggested to the government to change the modality of the lockdown, and impose curfews only in the affected areas to curb the spread of the virus.
During a four-hour long meeting with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday, experts urged the government to identify the affected zones before restricting the movement of people for a certain period of time. They [experts] said that imposing another nationwide lockdown doesn’t help in battling the virus unless the government increases the ambit of coronavirus testing.
“There has been community transmission in several parts of the country. The government needs to restrict movement only in such places for at least 15 days to curb the spread of the virus. Having said that, the government needs to increase the ambit of testing in the affected regions to know about the COVID-19 situation,” Dr Rabindra Pandey, a public health expert, suggested to the government.
“The government had imposed nearly a four-month-long nationwide lockdown to curb the virus. But, it didn’t increase testing in the affected regions,” said Dr Sameer Mani Dixit, a public health expert. “I urged the government to impose lockdowns only in the affected regions. It is not necessary to impose a nationwide lockdown, and restrict the movement of people in the less-affected regions.”
As cases are increasing in major cities such as Kathmandu, Birgunj, Biratanagar, among others, PM Oli called for a meeting with public health experts and other stakeholders to take suggestions to battle the global pandemic.
Talking to Republica, Dr Dixit further added that unless people follow precautionary measures like social distancing, among others, the virus will spread in the community. “What is the point of imposing a nationwide lockdown when the virus is going to stay within us unless a vaccine is developed?” he questioned, adding people should wear masks, follow social distancing measures, wash hands, sanitize hands, and follow other measures to battle the virus.
After listening to the suggestions from the experts, PM Oli said that the suggestions will be discussed with the Ministry of Health and Population and other authorities concerned.
Chairperson of the main opposition Nepali Congress, Sher Bahadur Deuba, was also present in the meeting.