The battle against COVID-19 in Nepal

How can the national lock down be made a success?

The battle against COVID-19 in Nepal

Health TV Online/Kathmandu: Amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19, with very few nations spared and with new cases detected in Nepal daily, our nation seems to be at the verge of facing the surge of cases in the coming days. As obvious, the health care system of Nepal is primitive and can never deal with a big epidemic. Our health care capacities will be very rapidly overwhelmed. The best and the only effective strategy for this battle of Nepal against COVID-19 is to prevent the cases as much as possible and to flatten the curve of the disease so that we see lesser cases at a time. With that, we can better utilize our limited resources and better care for those affected.

The national lock down imposed by the government aims to limit the spread of the disease among people by largely limiting the movement of people, unless deemed necessary. The efforts put on by police and traffic personnel are commendable. Of note, we do need to educate people so that the public knows the aim of lock down and how it will help the nation and potentially avert the impending disaster that we cannot handle. We do need to learn from what world faced and had been through in the last months. We cannot just wait and assume that God will save us. From the past months we have been learning more and more about the disease. The spread is exponential or the cases multiply rather than the matter of summing up.

 What we can learn from other nations is that as the preventive measure, simple and doable things are highly effective. Frequent and proper hand washing helps lot. Use of soap is equivalent to or even better than using hand sanitizer. The hand washing guide from WHO and other international bodies, which contains 7 steps, are highly effective, simple and easy to learn. Public should be aware of it.

Social distancing is of paramount importance. Staying at least 1 to 2 meters apart at any places largely minimize disease transmission. I could repeatedly notice that it is totally lacking among public. Even when there is opportunity for social distancing, I do see people moving together as before. It is time to modify our way of living. There is higher danger of getting the concept of social distancing breached in crowded places. With almost all the services and shops closed during this national lock down, the essential services will continue. The hospitals will continue to function, to treat the emergencies and to treat possible cases of COVID-19. Medical stores will remain open to continue the supply of essential drugs.

The national lock down imposed by the government aims to limit the spread of the disease among people by largely limiting the movement of people, unless deemed necessary. The efforts put on by police and traffic personnel are commendable. Of note, we do need to educate people so that the public knows the aim of lock down and how it will help the nation and potentially avert the impending disaster that we cannot handle. We do need to learn from what world faced and had been through in the last months. We cannot just wait and assume that God will save us. From the past months we have been learning more and more about the disease. The spread is exponential or the cases multiply rather than the matter of summing up.

At the same time, the supply of food items will remain continues, being the essential needs of human. Rather than continuing our traditional way of going to the department store, the public need to modify the way they would be going for shopping. People should be patient, and be in cue while waiting to enter the shop. Only a limited number of people need to be in the shop at a time, with conscious and voluntary social distancing while in the shopping store. The store need to be well ventilated. Each individual should not spend a lot of time in the store and leave quickly after grabbing their essential items. Public need to avoid stockpiling and at the same time, government need to assure reliable supply of food products during the time of lock down. The shopkeepers at the counter look vulnerable to exposure to large number of vendors and should maintain social distancing or use physical barriers (example a glass partition to avoid close contact) when feasible. The stores need to be open for long hours and the duration of opening should be fixed. At the same time public need to be patient and avoid crowding and try to avoid the timing of shopping when we would expect large number of people. It will be wise to wash hands both before entering the store and after coming out of the store. In the era of internet online shopping need to encouraged. That would limit the number of people moving for shopping and possible breach in the effectiveness of lock down.

It is now or never. Unless we stay meticulous to avoid the spread of COVID-19, and stay on front foot in the battle, we may not be far from the doom’s day that Italy is fighting and getting defeated with. The shopping centers can potentially be the major epicenter of virus spread despite the national lock down if we fail to think wisely and on time. Let us all stay safe, responsible and conscious.