Sunday, 21 July, 2024

No Room For Complacency

Threat to living comes from two sides at the moment, one from the halt to business activities and the other from the coronavirus disease. Suspension of business activities leads to business recession in which many people lose the means of living. Declining production - be it in the industrial or the agricultural sector - will make living difficult. The spreading tentacles of the virus are also putting life in jeopardy. So there is a dilemma whether to adopt the mode of inactivity to check the spread of the virus or to run businesses and learn to live with the virus. Some people say that if you are not dying due to the virus, you will die of hunger. It means you cannot limit your activities to the extent that ultimately starts to claim lives sooner or later. They are talking of new normal in which lifestyle and working habits have to undergo transformation to ensure safety from the virus.

Webinars and video conferences are taking the place of physical meetings and the teaching-learning activities are being conducted from distance with the application of electronic technologies. Newspapers are folding up or downsizing in favour of the increased presence online. There is no certainty when it will be possible to reopen schools, colleges, training centres, sports facilities and religious places. Normal mode of transportation is going to be restricted to keep a guard on virus transmission. Now a situation has arisen where border sealing will no longer keep transmission at bay. People without a travel history are found to be infected. It points to the community level penetration of the virus.

The porous border between Nepal and India seems to be the major cause of the surge of virus infection in Nepal. Human movement across the border is massive. Mass quarantining of incoming people may not be bringing desirable results, as there are chances of uninfected people catching the virus while being mixed up with infected ones. Nepal used to surprise people with the remarkably low number of deaths until recently. We should conclude the 120-day lockdown had worked wonders to check the transmission and deaths. After the lifting of the lockdown, not only the infection surged but fatality also started to climb. As per the government figures, as of Sunday, the number of COVID-19 deaths has reached 104.

It shows that Nepal has no magic element that can check virus-related deaths. Virus fatality is indirectly proportionate to the degree of safety measures. That is to say, the better and stricter the preventive measures, the lower the fatality. There is no longer an enigma regarding Nepal’s low virus deaths. We have to understand that fatality can suddenly rise if we are careless about safety measures. People often take pride in secretly violating rules and regulations imposed by the government. Regarding coronavirus safety rules, the pride over breaching can be fatal. In an interview with this daily recently, WHO Representative in Nepal Dr. Jos Vandelaer had said that there is no room for complacency because fatality along with infection can see a sharp rise any time in absence of reliable control measures.