Nepal to enforce smart lockdowns amid rising Covid cases

Amid rising Covid-19 cases, the Nepalese government has decided to enforce smart lockdowns in districts across the country, as the risk of a third Covid wave looms large

Aug 17, 2021
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Nepal to enforce smart lockdowns

Amid rising Covid-19 cases, the Nepalese government has decided to enforce smart lockdowns in districts across the country, as the risk of a third Covid wave looms large. Local administrations have been permitted to impose travel and other restrictions based on the situation in their respective districts. 

Hospitals are almost nearing their capacity, and the Kathmandu Valley, the country’s capital, reported over 1000 cases on Monday. The rise comes after all restrictions were lifted earlier, following the months’ long lockdown. 

In May, Nepal had gone through the deadly second wave, touching almost 10,000 daily cases at the time when almost all hospitals ran out of beds. The government, headed by former prime minister KP Sharma Oli, at the time, had been criticized for its handling of the crisis. 

In comparison to July’s first month, the daily caseload has doubled this week, raising concern.   

On Monday, there were almost 39000 active Covid cases, as reported by The Kathmandu Post. Efforts are underway to contain the spread in time as to avoid a nationwide lockdown in the future. The nationwide lockdown comes with a huge economic cost and a country like Nepal could not afford these costs repeatedly. 

“It was wrong from an epidemiological perspective to lift most of the restrictions throughout the country at once after the devastating second wave,” Dr. Tulsi Ram Bhandari, a public health expert, was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post. 

“I wonder what is preventing the authorities from locating the hotspots and enforcing restrictive measures at present,” he argued. 

Authorities will also color code districts based on various indicators-- like positivity rate, death rate, hospitalization--to determine the degree of measures to be taken to deal with the spread. 

So far, only 11 percent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated in the country. 

(SAM)