Editorial | The Nepal Weekly | April 27, 2021
Nepalis are about to be pressed to cope with yet another public health crisis – COVID-19- 2nd wave. Although they had faced similar crisis last year, they do not have any manual to fight against the crisis. The government did not think it appropriate to draw lessons from the last year’s pandemic particularly the way to counter the attack of the virus among mass. Preparing for the second wave of COVID-19, although emphasized by a section of medicos, is something the government either ignored or sidelined. As a result today when the virus has raised its ugly head and maintained fast spread, there is neither a plan nor a system nor a precautionary measure to prepare public to face the public health crisis. Three scientific measures- masking, social distancing and using sanitizer – are well planted among the people in text and theory but in practice all three appear not applicable for varying reasons. Facilitating people to practice the trio, although highly essential, is more confined to rhetoric than practice. Leaders particularly the ruling ones appear more interested in gathering crowd to demonstrate their political strength. People cannot understand why the leaders are gathering more people in the midst of such corona crisis and without any specific attention to preventive measures. The government appears to be emphasizing one rule for the ruling class and the other rule for the other –(working)-class. Protecting livelihood, investment, employment and economic activities which engage more people is another challenge while facing the COVID-crisis. The government is not conscious of it. That is why it is talking politics and taking politically tactical measures in the midst of widening COVID-19 crisis. Delivering health services to the needy in fair price, making reliable vaccination available to all sections of population and not letting the public health crisis lead to other dangerous economic disasters should be the current goal of those engaged in governance in Nepal. But the same is missing in the structure of all three levels of government. Utilizing COVID-19 second wave for one’s political goals should not be the intention of the government. Others outside the government should also not seek to politicalize the COVID-19-comeback to their interest. Those who are engaged in preparing the budget for the next fiscal year have to bear in mind that they have to prepare a document that could address two year crisis through a practical and applicable modality that ensures public health and welfare.