By Om Tat Sat,
So, finally the Nepalese government decided to call for a lockdown, like so many COVID-19 affected countries around the world, initially from March 24 to 31. This was to be expected as what Nepal government or Nepalese know best is to copy rather than make independent learned decisions. In this case, the copying could give good result, better late than never. However, the government officials seemed the least bothered about the deadly epidemic in China, and gave irresponsible statements that incited the people. Dr. Sundar Mani Dixit exposed the government façade by telling the public that there was no real testing equipments in Nepal for COVID-19.
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Until the lockdown started, there were numerous incidents that showed lack of preparation, seriousness and tactfulness regarding the magnitude of threat. We got to read about a patient who fled from Teku when he was asked to come in for a checkup. When the Nepalese working in India returned to Nepal, on the first day of lockdown, they were reported to have fled from the quarantine area. In turn, the villagers became scared of their return. Now, all of the cities are locked down and inflation has been reported, three times as much for vegetable. Hoarding has become normal as in the past crisis situation. On the one hand, government played lax with the viral threat that was killing in the thousand; while on the other hand, people were not willing to heed any government advisory either. That showed the out-of-touch mentality of Nepali society.
As the COVID-19 ravages in Europe and the USA and more than 197 countries in the world, global economy has contracted which has directly affected Nepal’s labor-export economy. Labors ready to fly to Gulf countries have been cooling their heels and the much touted Visit Nepal Year 2020 has crumbled down to ashes. A few months ago, when India stopped exporting onions to Nepal, the price had skyrocketed. The same scenario repeated when garlic stopped coming from China. These events have amply exposed the hollowness of Nepal’s economic policy. It has laid bare the fact that Nepal is reliant on importing even the basic food items, making it a laughing stock as an agro-based economy, or agriculture country. Unless a country learns to be self reliant, develops its economy on that concept, sooner than later life will come crumbling down. COVID-19 has done it.
A society is a unified social organism. Alas, not in case of Nepal.
Journalists from Online Khabar have reported about their three and half hours of close observation at the Teku Hospital for tropical and infectious diseases. According to them, government’s preparation is very weak, there is a severe lack of beds and personal protection equipments, and lack of coordination between hospitals and the extreme fear and helplessness the doctors are facing. Amidst such pathetic situation, private hospitals alike Grande and Alka are reported to have refused service to patience with fever. Similarly, Sidha Kura has reported that the home owners in Dhangadhi have asked the nurses and vacate their rented rooms due to fear of corona infection.
Nepal is merely a microcosm of the global trend that has shifted from collectivism to individualism, compassion to apathy, and alarmingly antipathy. There is money to be made from pain, suffering and constant war and killing. That is what is to be said of the most advanced time in human history. From abusing and exploiting fellow humans, centuries of degrading the planet we rely for life itself has been spiraling on unchecked by any sanity regarding the warming of the planet and the changing climate.
What stands out as a lesson is that humanity has created division within humanity and its relationship with the planet. Its abuse of the planet has consequences that are starting to unfold, the latest CNN news being how the giant glacier in Antarctica is melting that could raise the sea level by 5 feet. Additionally the world is a fractious place now with the USA continuing to seek conflict with China in the Yellow Sea while trying to blame China rather than seek amicable solution. With such discord in the world from inationalal relations to individual self-absorbed behaviors, COVID 19 is sending the message of absurdities of human current path.
What the crisis has done is flattened the division created by errant mankind obsessed by egotistical desires. Death differentiates between no one, unlike mankind who revels in creating divisions and discords in the name of wealth, religion, politics and what not.
There is an old adage that still could save mankind from itself. In every crisis there is an opportunity, so this crisis also presents a way out. Humanity has been united against a common enemy now, except a few nut heads who wish to perpetuate their profit from dissents. The simple trend that profit is the motivating factor in our education system, health care and even religion should give us a pause to reevaluate the priorities. Instead of bigotry against the Asian Americans seen in the US, sympathy would be better. Instead of never-ending consumerism, putting a ceiling on desires would go a long way. There used to be such a time, when amassing of wealth and material objects was discouraged in favor of being content with having enough for one’s need.
Now, we stay locked in our homes, unable in seeking money over family. The pursuit of trivial is on hold. When will the human values and respect for the real substance make a comeback? It has been said that the most serious crisis facing the humans today is the spiritual bankruptcy.
Unless we mend our ways, future will not have relief for us, instead more doom.
The writer is a graduate of Arizona State University in Political Science. He is working as a social activist and motivational speaker for students across Nepal since 2007.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necesarily reflect the official policy or position of Nepalisite.
Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID19), many countries have taken steps to address the outbreak. According to World Health Organization (WHO), as of Wednesday (March 26th, 2020), 462,684 confirmed cases of the virus had been reported in 199 countries with 20834 deaths.
Q&A session on the Covid-19 Novel Coronavirus with Dr. Elina Shakya, and Dr. Nabin Shrestha, an Senior Infectious Disease Consultant at Cleveland Clinic.
An appeal to temporarily close all Nepali Beauty Salons Amid COVID-19 outbreak
Information on Coronavirus from World Health Organization (WHO)
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
What are the symptoms of someone infected with a coronavirus?
It depends on the virus, but common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Is there a treatment for a novel coronavirus?
There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment based on the patient’s clinical condition. Moreover, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.
What can I do to protect myself?
Standard recommendations to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses include maintaining basic hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices and avoiding close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.