Sunday, 1 November, 2020

Minimise Mobility During Festivals

As the major Hindu festivals of Dashain, Tihar and Chhath are round the corner, people from Kathmandu and other cities across the country are planning to visit their hometowns to celebrate the festivals together with their families and relatives. With the COVID-19 infections increasing at an alarming rate in the Kathmandu Valley and other parts of the country, the upcoming festivals may prove to be disastrous if everyone does not take precautions rigorously. This year's festival season may become totally different from previous ones since the pandemic continues to transmit rapidly. Looking at its current trend, the end of the contagion is not in sight in the near future. Even when the process of developing a vaccine against the killer virus is underway, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that humans may have to live with this pandemic for more time to come.
With the rise in infections and resultant deaths, people in Nepal do not seem to have the usual festive mood and excitement this time around. There is still confusion and uncertainty among them. However, a lot of people are now seen visiting shops and malls located in all the major markets like New Road, Putalisadak, Koteshwor, Chabahil, Lagankhel, Pulchowk, and Bhaktapur. This definitely poses threat to the further spread of the virus. It is quite risky for people to travel by public vehicles while going to their hometowns and meet relatives during this festival season. There is no doubt that the mobility of people may lead to the spread of the virus disease like a wildfire. When more people leave the pandemic-hit areas like the Kathmandu Valley for other districts, they might be the carriers of the virus disease to their hometowns. There are still some districts with zero active cases. If people's mobility increases, such districts may also report new cases. With a weak healthcare system in the country, the fast spike in virus infections might pile a huge pressure on it.
Health experts as well as government authorities have urged one and all to celebrate this year's festivals with greater precautions. They have urged people to abide by all public health protocols and safety measures, and limit their mobility as far as possible. People have also been asked to celebrate the festivals in a new way within their own home and not invite guests or visit relatives. In fact, this is not the time to do much hullabaloo in the name of fun and celebrations. As suggested by health experts, citizens should stay wherever they are at present to help stop the spread of the pandemic. When there is increased mobility of citizens, there is higher possibility of transmitting the virus to the elderly and other vulnerable groups. Whenever they have to travel, they must be following basic guidelines such as wearing a face mask, washing hands and maintaining social distancing to keep the virus at bay. It is also the duty of the public vehicle operators to follow all the health safety measures as recommended by the government to control the pandemic.  

How do you feel after reading this news?