Easing Lock-down

[ 0 ] April 25, 2020 |

As the entire world is gripped by the pandemic of COVID-19, Nepal, the country still trying to recover from the mega earthquake of 2015 is no exception. The numbers of cases are rising in Nepal and the country fears the big risk of an outbreak due to its open border to India where the infection is growing rapidly followed by hundreds of death cases.

With poor or absence of proper health, an outbreak would send the country decades back in growth and development. The government issued a national-wise lockdown order from 24th March with the full restriction on vehicular movement and individual mobility.

If we look at the reality, at least 25% of Nepal’s population is below the poverty and are involved in casual labours within the country. Another 5 million poor population believed to be working overseas while millions are seasonally working in India. That makes at least 40% of Nepal’s poorest population is adversely affected by the pandemic at the moment. Even though lockdown has been considered as an effective measure to control the spread of the infection, without prior planning in place, half of the country’s population suffering for ends meet.

With the lockdown, the food crisis is inevitable and many have already started seeing impacts of it. There is not enough production of food in the rural area and wage workers in urban area are having difficulty making ends meet. This has triggered the situation exodus of thousands of people working in informal sectors from major cities of Nepal and India; attempting to walk hundreds of miles to get back to their village. However, like Nepal, despite having a substantial population engaged in agriculture, is not self-sustaining when it comes to food and we rely heavily on imports, therefore, no food is waiting for them back home either.

In the other hand, dozens of Nepalese have been reported lost their lives to Corona in the foreign land apart from 3-5 regular death. Nepali migrant worker is at the verge of losing their employment. Downsizing their employment will soon increase more pressure on unemployment back home.

Social crime is increasing; women, young girls and children are the centre of the suffering. There has been increased in cases of numbers of rape and domestic violence. Various media has already mentioned that within a few weeks of lockdown, 86 rape cases and 72 domestic violence has been reported while hundreds of such cases have gone unreported. Similarly, in the first two week, the police have recorded 198 cases of suicide due to the loneliness, depressions and stress.

Socio-economic situation is getting weaker day by day, now it is a time to ease national-wise lockdown. However, depending upon the situation, cluster within provinces or districts could impose lockdown. Border to India should be kept sealed but without restricting incoming Nepali immigrants with proper screening measures. Public attitude towards hygiene and sanitation to be improved. Physical distancing should be a newly established culture and agro-based economy should be promoted.

Written by NC editorial team
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Category: Editorial, Socio-political


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