Sunday, 9 August, 2020
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EDITORIAL

Laudable COVID-19 Response



The world has still been grappling with the outbreak and spread of coronavirus pandemic. Ever since the virus was first detected in China some seven months ago, countries across the globe have been trying hard to bring the virus under control to safeguard the life of their citizens. Yet they have lost many of their citizens to the virus, despite working hard to stop the virus from infecting people adopting various means, and treating them with the help of all modern medical technology and facilities. The pandemic has also hit hard the economy and other sectors throughout the world as countries have been forced to observe prolonged lockdown. Nepal too has experienced some of the worst impacts of the contagion. The country is still struggling to bring its 'worst-hit' economy back on track following the prolonged lockdown, which has now been lifted. The trade, business, and transportation sector of the country are now expected to return to normalcy in a gradual manner, following the end of the lockdown. But the ramification of the virus outbreak and the subsequent lengthy and frustrating lockdown will definitely be felt for many months, if not many years, to come.

Despite all the economic and social hardships that the pandemic outbreak has inflicted on us, our country has been praised for undertaking some laudable measures to deal with the COVID-19 to safeguard the life of its citizens. The government had promptly decided to impose lockdown, restricting domestic and international movements, shutting down international borders and stopping all means of domestic and international travel. The government was prompt in setting up quarantine and isolation centres across the nation and upgrading health institutions as well as mobilising health workers in large numbers. It also imported equipment necessary for testing the virus infection and safety kits necessary for health workers. In the meantime, it ramped up the virus testing across the country, most importantly at the areas where many people had arrived from foreign soils. Because of these swift and efficient measures, the infection rate among the people has not yet gone beyond 20,000 while the death toll is at 42 till date. Also remarkable is the report that the number of persons recovered from the infection is around 13,000.

All these measures tell volumes about the government's commendable, prompt and effective response that has paid off now. Nowadays, more people are leaving quarantines and isolation wards after testing negative for the virus. Meanwhile, the lesser infection rate among the people, which is less than 200 per day, has encouraged the government to lift the lockdown throughout the country. In his interview with this daily, WHO Nepal Representative Dr. Jos Vandelaer lauded the government for response against the virus. The country has done quite well after imposing lockdown and quarantining people that also stopped community transmission of the disease. Now, that the lockdown has been lifted, the people and government authority should pay more attention towards maintaining safety as there is still risk. If these laudable steps of the government are expected to bear more fruits, the government must enforce the people to comply with all safety measures such as maintaining safe physical distance, washing and sanitising hands, wearing masks and following strictly the coughing and sneezing etiquettes. Only then can the country be able to bring the virus risk under total control. 

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