The World today is passing through unprecedented times due to covid-19 pandemic. The death toll related to it has reached more than 31 lakh worldwide until 2nd May, 2021 as per the World Health Organization record while the United States America (USA) stands the worst affected by it. India and Brazil are following the suit. In this panicky scenario no one tends to be safe until everybody is safe in this interconnected globalized world. The world is sailing in the same boat. Covid-19 has ravaged the whole world. Nepal is no exception to this.
Puting things in perspective way, Nepal has got to be extra careful and conscious given the fact that she sorely lacks sufficient health manpower for our population and equipment such as medicine, for instance remdesivir to well equipped medical beds and vaccines in particular. Hardly, 8% of the the total population has been vaccinated so far. Senior as well as young population has been prey to it, of late. Death toll is rising outdoing the previous year’s number with more than 7000 caseloads on 02 May alone.
Most precarious of these all is that our preparation for the pandemic seems precious little which can not cater the unfurling situation. Our three tiers government seems non-existent with regard to preparation even if it was preordained situation and every country of the world has been hit hard by second wave of the pandemic. We seemed to have been lucky as the second wave only hit us following the southern neighbor India.
Nepali government and ruling party in particular wasted this precious times at its disposal which could be utilized for necessary preparation and creating public awareness. The Prime Minister presented himself sanguinely stating that Covid-19 is no longer a disease that gets cured easily with little gargle with hot water mixed with guava leaves. This sort of mockery of the imminent threat languished the whole government machinery stay relaxed and content. Contrary to the people’s expectation, ruling party lapsed times infighting and mudslinging among themselves as well as foiling each other’s counter moves. The worst case of this version has seen in Lumbini province. The single most focus of the politicians seem to regain power only to be powerful. This kind of irresponsible acts of pseudo-politicians have further pushed the country into abysmal.
Not only politicians and people in power and authority are to blame for this situation, we as people have also got to be responsible. We ourselves remained off guard . People seemed to be careless for instance not masking up oneself, attending political gatherings and social functions in masse without adopting proper social distance protocol.
So, Political parties and government paid no heed to this imminent threat which has the potential of creating chaotic situation in the country. This can be best termed as Nero fiddles violin while Rome gets burning. In this predicament, neither these lost times can be recovered nor the lives of people who have shed themselves to covid-19
India, a lesson for Nepal
India, of late, remains hard hit by the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. Daily caseloads are rising in an alarming way. More than 4 lakh people have been infected for covid daily with 3000 deaths. Despite India is a capital of world pharma, it has been struggling through the shortage of medicines and equipment such as oxygen cylinders. Countries including China and Pakistan have offered to help India. India is at its worst situation ever in the history. It is and should be a alarming bell for Nepal. Nepal should be vigilant and strictly scrutinize people alongside its border with India. As virus does not respect the border, regulation of it should be the foremost priority. Border may be sealed until the covid-19 case substantially subsides in both the countries.
Closing border is not a solution as such. People may be allowed to come in in limited number. Security situation must be beefed up to control the overpowering of people. And at the same time, concerned local government should be mobilized for the establishment of quarantine centers along the border area. People coming in should have health checked up before their entry into Nepal. Political parties can act out well in creating awareness such as for wearing mask, using sanitizer at times and maintaining social distance. These simple acts could become live saving recipe in this extraordinary circumstances.
Nepal, since the beginning of the pandemic, has been vocal for the easy availability of vaccines to all people and countries of the world. Nepal is of the view that Covid-19 vaccine should be made global public goods and accessibility to it should be extended to every country regardless of its size and strength. Life saving Vaccine should not be calculated in monetary transactions.
Contrary to our expectation, some powerful countries including the USA and UK are holding in the intellectual property rights of Covid-19 vaccines. They have had already the super storage of vaccines. It seems that vaccine supremacy will rule the entire world for some considerable time. Nepal should put forward its rationale demand to obtain vaccine for its people as vaccine is a key solution of the problem. As the chief of the WHO stressing for the fairer distribution of vaccine states that present vaccination drive is not fair enough as 80% of the vaccines are at the hold of powerful countries. Nepal has to pursue its robust diplomacy first to obtain Covax Scheme of WHO which is designed to get jabs to poor nations.
In conclusion, Nepal treasures her location between two giant neighbours India and China worldwide. Both our neighbours are leading powers of the 21st century, also the Asian century in the making. Nepal should make it point that both neigbours are equal to us. At the same time we should be trustworthy enough to count on and also by sincerely addressing their legitimate interest. We should equally focus on our priority such as exploring the options of vaccine best suited for us.
Nepal should no way miss this opportunity. It is only by ceasing this opportune moment in our favor from both the neighbours we can best fulfill our vaccination drive at home as both of them are pursuing vaccine diplomacy abroad as also being the pharmaceutical capitals of the world. In this way, Nepal has got to work in tandem both with domestic actors as well as global partners. The litmus test of the government also lies here in bringing in vaccine while maintaining balanced and friendly relations between and among countries of the world.