Amidst the pandemic one particular word has become very appropriate – “unprecendented”. We truly are in an unprecendented situation; scientists are racing for a cure but are also still learning various properties about the novel coronavirus.
As we wait for a cure, governments and relevant authorities take various measures which they feel is the best for their citizens. Here we have compiled the response system of two cities – Kathmandu and Melbourne.
At the time Nepal imposed its first lockdown on 24th March, 2020, there was only one case of Covid-19 in Nepal – that too an inactive case. As days proceeded into weeks, the number of cases began to rise – most of the early cases were attributed to the government being unable to provide proper quarantine facilities for its residents returning home from India. Lack of proper ‘public awareness campaigns’ also contributed to the reluctance of citizens ensuring they would quarantine themselves upon arrival.
During the time, Kathmandu was insistent it needed to protect itself – but the question was for how long?
Cases began to surge in Kathmandu Valley, around the same time Melbourne started reporting its second wave of infections. Both cities also put their citizens in a second lockdown – Kathmandu for 3 weeks, Melbourne began observing Stage 3 restrictions in July which was moved to Stage 4 on 3rd August, 2020.
For Kathmandu, when it announced its second lockdown (prohibitory order) on 26th August, 2020, it reported 301 new cases of Covid-19. In three weeks, the lockdown proved futile as Kathmandu was unable to flatten its curve – on 15th October, 2020, Kathmandu Valley alone reported 1934 new cases.
Meanwhile, Victoria, which reported 721 new cases of Covid-19 on 30th July, has completely flattened its curve and on Friday, 16th October reported zero deaths and two new cases in the state.
Melbourne has been able to control its second wave of infections.
Meanwhile, Kathmandu (and entire Nepal), as per reports as exhausted its healthcare system – ventilators, ICU beds, and in some places even PCR testing kits are in shortage.
The arguments of pro-lockdown vs pro-opening the economy is an ever ongoing battle – this article is not about that. This article is about proactive government responses which is aimed at saving lives of its people. The people of Kathmandu have undergone two lockdowns, desperately wait for the government to provide some sort of economic reliefs, they wait for news about ventilators and ICU beds being added – but the public’s hopes are diminishing by the day.
Kathmandu (and Nepal) is a long way from flattening its curve – and now the people have to fend on their own. This is concerning – during a health crisis, especially a government which has promised reforms in Nepal, you would want them to look after you like the Victorian government did.