Monday, 30 March, 2020
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OPINION

Adopt Self-isolation



Bini Dahal

Novel coronavirus has taken control over the world. Also known as COVID-19, the disease has increased fear and uncertainty among people regarding their existence. Highly affected countries like China have opted for numerous measures to contain the frequency of the pandemic.
Being a disease related to respiratory infection, COVID-19 has the ability to get transmitted easily from one person to another. Droplet infection is the easiest medium to transmit the virus from an infected person to a healthy one. Since the incubation period of the virus lasts from one to 14 days, with an average incubation period of 5 to 6 days, an infected person may not be immediately aware of the situation. This unawareness can result in chain infection among healthy persons.
It is, therefore, very important to understand the idea of social distancing. As the frequency of the infection was initially very high in China, the Chinese government took many sweeping measures, including social distancing or self-isolation. Following China's steps, a number of other countries such as Italy, the United States, Australia and India have gone for lockdown to prevent the deadly virus from further transmission.
Many phrases such as lockdown and social distancing have been used commonly at a global level following the outbreak of the virus. The Merriam-Webster defines social distancing as "the practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimise exposure and reduce the transmission of infection".
The main idea behind social distancing is to limit contact between people. The measures of social distancing can include closing down schools and workplaces, cancelling mass gatherings, isolating people and following quarantines, among others. Lately, an animated video depicting burning matchsticks has gone viral on the Internet. In this video, a series of matchsticks, placed together, are burning with the help of the previous matchstick. The flow is continuous until a single matchstick is left out. This is when the burning of the matchstick comes to a full stop. The video conveys a message that social distancing can be an effective tool to contain the virus transmission.
Though only three coronavirus cases have been detected in Nepal till date, the fear among people is quite high. As a result, many people have left the Kathmandu Valley for their home towns. A recent media report showed that an estimated 1.5 million people have left the valley to stay safe. Reduction in the number of people in a densely populated city like Kathmandu where major emigration and immigration occurs may create a safe environment.
However, people have become more panicky after the government decided to go for lockdown across the country. Thousands of people were crowded in the bus park at mid night just to return home. It was indeed foolishness on their part to run away from the city in haste. There were possibilities for them to be infected with the virus while travelling by crowded public buses. The virus feels like a person whose nature and behaviour, we are very unsure about. We cannot forget the smaller picture to only focus on the bigger one. However, they must remain alert and adopt safety measures accordingly. 

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