April 2020: A brief report on the COVID-19 pandemic impact in Nepal from CLASS Nepal
From CLASS Nepal General Secretary, Parshuram Pudasaini:
After the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronanovirus a global emergency on 30 January 2020, countries around the world have increasingly adopting sweeping measures, including full lockdowns, shutting down airports, imposing travel restrictions and completely sealing their borders to curb the virus spread. The persistent increase in positive tests and reported deaths in neighbouring countries and around the globe prompted the Nepalese government to revoke all of its promotional Visit Nepal 2020 campaigns, and other national and international events until further information. Amidst anxieties and psychological fear about the COVID-19 epidemic, the government of Nepal declared a state emergency and national lockdown on 24 March. The nationwide lockdown was initially due to end on 27 April, but has been extended to 7 May. It is unpredictable if further steps will be taken by the government.
In the nationwide lockdown till 27 April, all borders were sealed, and international and domestic flights completely halted. However, some road transportation has been maintained in this problematic situation. It is unpredictable how long this will last.
Government is using all its mechanisms such as security forces, medical staff and health resources across the nation to cope with the stress. Rapid testing of suspected individuals is ongoing. There are massive massive public awareness campaigns using posters, digital media and other means of communication. Quarantine and isolation centres are being established. The infected are treated under the supervision of government, free of cost. Government is also distributing food relief to needy and poor people.
In this pandemic, protecting workers from disease transmission is central and most important irrespective of their colour, cast and religion. Temporary and low wage workers and workers in the informal sectors are hard-hit and at increased risk. In this strange situation health workers and food and grocery store workers are in the frontline. Trade union organisations are continuously urging government and employers to provide a safe workplace, and have recommended the use of physical distancing, masks, having an adequate supply of hand soaps and sanitizer, good housekeeping, and to remain vigilant about regular cleaning and disinfecting. Fortunately no any worker case of disease and death has been seen so far across the country.
COVID-19 cases in Nepal:
The first case of COVID-19 in Nepal emerged on 27 March in a 19-year-old Nepalese women returning from abroad. She has fully recovered and been discharged from hospital. According to the ministry of health and population in Nepal as of 24 April, 49 infected people have been identified. Out of them, 10 have recovered and been discharged, while the rest are hospitalised. No death due to COVID-19 has been identified up until now. Furthermore, a total of 10,573 persons are quarantined and 86 persons are in isolation.
Stay safe, Stay healthy.