Sunday, 5 April, 2020
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EDITORIAL

Borders Closed To Prevent New Virus



In the latest move aimed at preventing the possible outbreak of the new coronavirus in the country, the government has sealed the borders with its immediate neighbours India and China. The contagious virus has now spread in more than 100 countries across the world and infected over 300,000 people. Death toll has crossed 13,000 as medical experts battle day and night to test vaccines, treat the infected people and prevent the spread. No virus outbreak has taken place in Nepal so far but the state has left no stone unturned on the preventive front. The first outbreak of the disease known as Covid-19 took place in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China. Now China has brought the virus under control with strict preventive measures and the treatment of those already infected. However, cases are increasing lately in India, which is an immediate southern neighbour of Nepal. Moreover, Nepal and India share an open border through which thousands move across each day in normal times. Nepalis who had gone to work in India are reportedly returning home in hordes lately. Fears are high some of the returnees might be infected.

A cabinet meeting held on Sunday decided to close all borders with India and China amid fears that infected people might be moving in. As the virus may not show its symptoms for two weeks or even more after entering a human body, there is high risk of passing the germs on multiplication proportions without being noticed. Therefore, controlling trans-border movement, mass gathering and social contacts and staying in isolation can make a huge impact in curbing infection and saving lives. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already declared this situation a pandemic and joint preventive actions are necessary especially between the bordering nations. The government decision on border sealing has come into effect from 10 a.m. Monday and the concerned State and local level authorities have been entrusted to effectively implement the decision. When coronavirus is posing risks, it is not a good idea to move from one place to another. It is the best idea to stay wherever one is and wait till the situation comes under control and returns to normal. The government has already stopped all international flights to Nepal. Even Nepalis are urged to stay back where they are. As for those foreigners who are stranded in Nepal, the government has decided to extend their visa tenure.

This is a battle against the deadly virus fought in a medically recommended way that blocks the path of further infection. The role of the media is to stick to medically proven truth and nip rumour mongering in the bud. The people need to listen to the authentic and official information and should not be swayed by misleading and superstitious messages. The dos and don’ts prescribed by medical experts have to be respected by every individual which ultimately contributes in fighting a winning battle against the virus. Educational institutions and cinemas have been closed, larger gatherings have been discouraged and long route transports have been closed. These moves can cause inconvenience but are necessary to ensure safety for all. 

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