Monday, 17 January, 2022
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OPINION

COVID Spares None



Bini Dahal

It is just the second week of the New Year 2022 and COVID-19 has already returned with a big bang. With unique variants emerging in different parts of the world, it has become quite difficult for us to make counts of which virus strain exactly is doing the rounds. But, right now the most transmissible Omicron variant along with the Delta strain seems to have teamed up to exacerbate crises in many countries, including Nepal. And it is spreading like wildfire among political leaders, too.

Catching the virus at this point has become as common as suffering from cough and cold. So, when a politician catches a virus, it is not exactly that big of an issue. But the persisting negligence on their side creates all the problems for the wrong reasons.
Nepali news media have presented reports about multiple leaders of different political parties catching the virus owing to their carelessness and ignorance. There are also reports about how certain leaders identified in contract-tracing were not adhering to a five-day quarantine rule because they apparently showed no symptoms.

This kind of thing is quite evident as politicians are found participating in a number of public events where hundreds and thousands of people attend. No social distancing and no face-mask make things worse. If a virus strain like Omicron gets transmitted here, we cannot imagine the potential damage it can cause to people and the country.

But who will care about this? After staying for a 14-day quarantine, they will go back to organising political events. It might be an easy availability of health services and vaccines that make them so confident. Only some who suffered from the virus will understand the potential damage and lessen their movements. Else, such activities will continue. This level of insensitivity from someone who the public looks up to is a disgrace indeed.

With the ringing warning bells of a potential third wave, the government has come up with a new rule. As per the rule, no more than 25 individuals are now allowed to gather in a public place. The people will immediately follow this. The government does it, too. Top level politicians, including ministers, and civil servants, are also required to strictly adhere to the rules before the general public does it.

There is no denying the fact that politicians are the opinion leaders for many people. Their words can either elevate or deescalate the situation. Therefore, they should ask everyone to take up all the precautions. They themselves should also follow such norms properly. In view of the worsening current COVID situation across the country, the government needs to completely ban all the political gatherings and meetings. Such get-togethers could prove to be disastrous when it comes to mass transmission of this killer viral disease. This is why political parties should be motivated to host virtual events for the goodwill of all the people.

The fact that we get our life only once should make us more alert. Living a healthy life is everyone’s right. But an individual’s ignorance and indifference can cause other’s right to get violated.
The metaphor that too shall pass soon has become too old and carries no real meaning in the current situation. However, staying positive and doing the needful is crucial in this time of the pandemic.