Analysis

Nepal’s response to Covid-19 is so far, so good

Nishesh Dhungana

Nishesh-Dhungana

Today countries around the world are facing unprecedented and prolonged threat of Covid-19 pandemic resulting in huge number of deaths, loss of economy and disruption of day to day life and order. Furthermore, there is neither any certainty about the state or fate of respective countries and the global order in post-Corona days nor any guarantee of the return of normal life and the processes of recovery.

The countries and the world order as well would not be the same again as before by the time the war against Covid-19 comes to an end. This will inspire humankind to focus on earliest discoveries, remedies and preparedness to combat such or any calamity likely to crop up in the future.

Although appearing for the first time in the city of Wuhan, China, in December last year, it has really been a big surprise in itself how within a short period the virus has managed to massively spread to developed Western countries. Accordingly, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, and France are the most victimized countries in the first phase after China.

At present, unfortunately, the United States of America has been on the top of the list as the utmost affected country among the sufferers. The US death toll astonishingly is in high number. This is from every angle a very big tragedy indeed.  It is still uncertain from where and when the virus horrors are completely extinct and controlled.

In South Asia, countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have seen Corona infected cases. It has been traced in thousands, yet it is consoling to see that the loss altogether has been low.

In India, the pandemic spread more or less to almost all parts of the vast country yet declared deaths are limited. The credit to this should largely go to the government’s timely call for lockdown and the obedience of the public in high spirit. The people realized the lockdown’s worth for their own security above all.  It highlights how timely precautionary measures like social distancing and lockdown   prove extraordinarily effective in such cases.

So far we have been fortunate that in spite of poor healthcare system and testing facilities in the country, there have not been any corona deaths so far. In our case too, it is apparent how the government’s timely call for alertness, social distancing and lockdown has helped us also all together in reducing human and other casualties.

However, the fact that there has not been a single death in our country so far should not make us complacent. After all, World Health Organization (WHO) and other reputable global health organizations have warned that the probability of the resurgence of virus infections may occur in the future.

Strict application of lockdown experiences in the past few weeks have shown how our open and porous border, particularly with India, has caused a problem requiring very careful handling. Because, as everybody knows, it’s where the flow of people is huge.

Nepalgunj-corona

Both countries should be alert about other disturbances in the border during this pandemic period. Any disturbances in the border means that there would be obstruction in huge flow of supplies from India to cater to our day to day needs.

Some scenarios unfolding in the country, however, are worrying. The likely reduction of remittances from migrant laborers that has been so far propping up our economy needs to be get immediate attention. Obstruction in physical infrastructure works, huge damages to the tourism sector and loss of employment all are recipes for disaster. It is expected that the government will take a lead in chalking out a fresh post-corona reconstruction plan and implement it earnestly.

However, instead of uniting and fighting this global pandemic, the country has seen political instability and disputes within the ruling party. Thankfully, internal disputes and tussles in the ruling party has been resolved. Now the whole focus should be on combating COVID-19.

The writer holds an MA in Politics/International Relations from Jawahar Lal Nehru University and has completed LLB from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

nishesh.dhungana@gmail.com

Published on 4 May 2020

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