Jumla villagers heading for their fields wearing facemasks. Photo: DB Budha/Republica
JUMLA, April 4: Seven people who had gone to Dhipu village of Tila Rural Municipality – 9 to buy fodder for their cattle two days ago returned empty-handed. The locals did not allow them to enter the village. As the novel coronavirus pandemic has been wreaking havoc in the whole world, everyone is alarmed, according to Sarki Bahadur Bohora, a civil society leader in the village.
"For our own safety we do not allow anyone other than the people we know very well to enter the village," he said.
Bohora stated that the villagers have heard that the virus does not have any treatment. So the best solution is not to let newcomers to enter the village. He stated that also those who have recently returned from India or other countries are not allowed even if they are relatives or acquaintances. "The disease is not local. It is imported. So, we have decided to take it very seriously and not allow even our own relatives or family members here if they have recently come from other countries including India. We directly send them to the quarantine facility set up by the government," he said.
But so far, no foreign-returnee has come to the village, Bohora further informed Republica. Though there are some families whose members are working in Gulf countries, they have not returned. "If they happen to come, they will have to go and quarantine themselves at the facility set up by the government," he said.
People in the village are hardly educated. But the measures they have taken against the novel coronavirus do not stop there. They have been taking part in awareness campaigns as well. The villagers talk about health, hygiene and cleanliness.
According to another local of the village, Aase Basnet, transportation has come to a complete halt and the village itself is almost isolated now. Yet, locals are very cautious about any possible threat of the coronavirus and are united to combat it. "We have almost stopped outdoor activities unless there is urgency. We meet very few people and do not go to the market unnecessarily," he said. "People are not traveling from one village to another these days," he added.
There are a total of 201 monitoring centers in Jumla. Those centers keep an eye mainly on the workers who have returned from India recently. According to Basnet, people who need to be isolated are living at quarantine facilities. "We are also asking everyone to wash their hands with soap, use masks and eat healthy diets," he said, adding that the lockdown imposed by the government has been religiously followed by the villagers.
Meanwhile, talking to Republica, Assistant CDO of Jumla, Om Prakash Adhikari, stated that people in the rural areas are more disciplined compared to those in the urban zones. "Those in the rural areas are obeying the rules. They are serious about the safety measures. Actually, it feels safer there than in the town areas," he said.