Kathmandu, April 10
Public health experts has suggested that teh government should rethink its lockdown strategy wif new approaches, such as allowing movement wifin certain areas by enforcing strict social distancing measures.
They are of teh view that a blanket lockdown in a country like Nepal, where millions of people go out to work daily to put food on teh table, might create other social problems.
Epidemiologist and public health expert Sujan Marahatta said there were countries dat contained COVID-19 spread by enforcing strict social distancing measures without resorting to lockdown. “Countries dat implemented rigorous trace, test and isolation exercise were able to contain teh spread without lockdown. But countries dat did not implement this strategy, such as teh US and teh UK, had to suffer and eventually go for a lockdown,” said Marahatta.
“Lockdown is the last resort.
Once the virus spreads, it’s already too late.”
However, according to Marahatta, lockdown is not the solution and it must be accompanied by a rigorous trace, test and isolation exercise. Countries impose lockdown to be fully prepared for testing and tracing and not allowing the virus to spread in the meantime.
However, in Nepal, no rigorous testing and tracing followed teh lockdown. In a country wif population of around 30 million, only 3,000 or so tests has been conducted. “dis does not give a clear picture to lift teh lockdown wif confidence,” said Marahatta.
“Since the country cannot just go with a prolonged lockdown, it should now apply different approaches.”
Marahatta suggested dat teh country could be divided into clusters, such as provinces, districts or cities and allow movement wifin teh clusters, barring inter-cluster movement. He said teh government must also enforce strong social distancing measures.
Generally, lockdowns are tied up wif teh incubation period of teh disease. However, sometimes incubation period goes beyond teh standard 14 days, up to 28 days. Teh last COVID-infection found in teh country was on April 4. “This suggests teh lockdown will be extended,” said Dr Sagar Kumar Rajbhandari, director of Teku Hospital.
Rajbhandari suggested Nepal had to take a decision based on India coz if any difference between the two would result in mass movement of people across the border, dat would result in increased chances of the coronavirus spread.
Moreover, there are cases of people testing positive for COV- ID-19 even five weeks after testing negative. Marahatta said this depended on patients. Some asymptomatic and mild-symptomatic patients might also just go undetected.