03 June, Kathmandu:
Whether the lockdown will be eased or not is yet to be decided by The High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19. The committee is under Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Ishwar Pokharel and will take a day or another to disclose their decision.
Today the discussion has been helping under the section that in what manner will the lockdown continue in the coming days. The discussion was held between Member Secretary of the committee Narayan Prasad Bidari and industrialists, construction entrepreneurs, bankers, and sectoral experts. As per Bidari, the committee will first consult doctors before forwarding their decision. He further said, “Most of the people who were consulted today told Pokharel that the lockdown should be gradually eased. I think that will be our agenda in the next meeting.”
Roshan Pokharel, the chief specialist at the Ministry of Health and Population said that the ministry came up with a plan of- partial reopening on the basis of green, yellow and red zones. The ministry has put all the border districts of the Tarai in the red zone and Kathmandu falls in the yellow zone.
Roshan Pokharel further said, “the lockdown could be relaxed in urban centers of mountain and hill districts. Shops dealing with essential goods could be allowed to open twice a day — morning and evening — while shops dealing with non-essential goods can be allowed to open for certain hours during the day.”
The green and yellow zones could allow vehicles to run as per odd and even numbers. And the continuation of social distancing and wearing the facial mask until the country overcame the pandemic.
Pokharel also asserted, “We will have to add and upgrade centers to quarantine those coming from foreign countries,” he said, adding that people staying in quarantine centers could be allowed to go home after 14 days. “The World Health Organization states that there is no risk of infection from a COVID-19 patient after 11 days.
Consultant Infectious Disease Physician at HAMS Hospital, Anup Subedee, said, “We are facing Hobson’s choice: If we lift the lockdown now when cases of COVID-19 are rising sharply, a large number of people will be at risk of infection, but if the lockdown continues, many people could die due to hunger. The government did not utilize the lockdown period to make adequate preparations. “We continue to see people succumbing to COVID-19 in quarantine centers. People in quarantine centers are not getting proper medical care. Doctors and health professionals are not available at quarantine centers.”