The entire world has been affected badly through the outbreak of the pandemic COVID- 19 in Nepal. Likewise, our country Nepal is also an outrageous victim of the global pandemic. However, from the pristine hills of Mustang to the terrain plains of Chitwan Low land, the virus has dragged us down to our knees, be it in our spirits or to the economy. Similarly, the plan to celebrate 2020 as Visit Nepal 2020 all went in vain due to the outbreak of Covid-19. Talking about our country, Nepal is a landlocked country settled between two mammoth nations India and China. Nepal is directly in touch with the international boundary of both India and China. Being connected with both the countries, the country of 30 million habitats was exposed openly and the COVID-19 cases upsurge mainly due to this reason. Thus, Nepal was classified as a high-risk region and also the least unprepared country to face this tough situation and produce its own vaccines. Nepal’s government is still providing different company’s COVID 19 and Vaccines in Nepal.
Nepal is categorized into 77 districts and 7 provinces whose data in the COVID-19 case and vaccines in Nepal are collected separately. The first Covid-19 case was seen on a student on 23rd January 2020 who had recently traveled from China in Bagmati Province but the student recovered soon due to a meticulous isolation process in Teku Hospital. Throughout the week’s suspects were examined deeply, and it was found there were no active cases during the first week of March. But the inflow of Nepali citizens from abroad made the situation more dreadful and our country registered its 2nd case through a woman who was traveling from France via Qatar. When WHO (World Health Organization) declared Covid-19 as a global pandemic on March 11, that alarming situation induced panic in laymen of Nepal. Regarding the dire situation, the Nepal government was compelled to initiate lockdown. The lockdown was extended to the whole country on the 24th of March 2020 with strict rules and regulations. Everything from the government works to education, recreation was halted for who knows a long period of time. Similarly, all the international flights were canceled and no travelers, even Nepali citizens were allowed to enter the country. The international borders were sealed as well. Not only this, the tourism Board of Nepal suspended the issue of trekking permits. Despite the lockdown, our country Nepal registered the first local transmission of Covid-19 in Kailali, and COVID cases were escalating more and more. The most frightening news arrived on the 14th of May, 2020 when a 29-year-old female who gave birth to four babies lost her life due to Covid-19, it was confirmed later. This news developed fear amongst the indigenous people of Nepal and they took the novel virus Corona as a major threat. But after an interval of a few days, the active cases rose significantly to 1000 only.
In the meantime, the government was pulling insurmountable efforts to provide various testing kits and amenities. The government fabricated a total of 10 laboratories in all the provinces. RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test) was made available to all of the districts whereas due to limited availability of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), this test was performed on the quarantined citizen who had just returned from a foreign land or to the people who had shreds of evidence of contact tracing on them. Thus, by the first week of June, about a hundred thousand people were tested via RDT and PCR tests. The situation was getting much worse day by day, and the total active cases hit a figure of 10,000 lately in the month of June and the death tally increased up to 30 in number. Apart from this, our government officials diligently worked in order to deport tourists stuck in Nepal in their own home country. In the final week of March, hundreds of foreigners were rescued, and they were transferred to their own country through a safe passage.
Some positive news arrived at our doorstep on the 13th of July, 10,000 people recovered from Covid-19, and the situation was regarded as somehow controlled one. Following the recoveries, the government ended the nationwide lockdown on 21st June 2020. Till that date about 18,000 positive cases were recorded and unfortunately 40 deaths occurred. The Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) implemented strict rules and protocols for every sector; Public gatherings should not be allowed, international flights are to be operated with limited frequencies, public transport, business, hotels should maintain social distancing, the places with more influences of the public like gyms, theatres should remain closed and the education should be provided through strong safety precautions. Things started to accelerate slowly and people started to adopt the changes and started a new normal kind of life. Generally, people across the streets were witnessed with protective gears like masks, gloves, and the use of sanitizers, hand wash was prevalent in a significant amount. Moreover, the outbreak of the virus brought some abrupt changes in people, they were more conscious about their health and eating habits as well. Despite all this awareness, the active cases spiked up and the death tally reached up to 100 in the 2nd week of August 2020. Besides this, the novel coronavirus brought major threats; the data from Nepali police indicated that no of suicide cases increased about 10 to 20 per day. As an economically unstable country, it is arduous for normal people to maintain their livelihood, and people face consequential problems but life goes on no matter what, we have started to live the new normal life.
The New Year came up with some rejoicing news in the form of COVID-19 vaccines. While some power-packed nations were struggling, we were one of the first nations to initiate a vaccine campaign. The vaccination campaign began when India provided the AstraZeneca vaccine generally known as the CVID-19 shield. The one million doses were firstly prioritized to frontline health workers, supporting staff, elderly people, and people were vaccinated accordingly in two phases. Side by side the government instituted other vaccines from India and China and promised to vaccinate other millions till late August. After vaccination, the tests were limited and only performed on people returning from abroad and even isolation was practiced in their own homes. The situation seemed a controlled one somewhat, and laymen were seen practicing festivals in public places, public gatherings occurred frequently even when film halls started to open for the public. However, as of May Nepal was again alarmed when another dominant strain of Coronavirus devastated our adjoining country India. Due to the open border between the two nations, the 2nd strain virus proliferated and by the start of April 2021, the total no of cases was overwhelming and reached a figure of 300,000, the highest no of cases to date. The government had to impose a lockdown starting from Kathmandu to other places from April 26. But the condition was much adverse compared to the first strain as the virus was more contagious than the first one. Due to our full dependency on India, we lacked oxygen cylinders and health accessories. The advent of COVID lately brought chaos to our health system. The hospital beds were occupied, and we lacked oxygen cylinders, ventilators, and other critical equipment. Deadly consequences were noticed on the 9th of May 2021, 9,317 cases of COVID were recorded which is the highest number of cases per day is. Not only this, Nepal transcended India’s mortality rate as well and on the 17th of May 2021, the total death tally reached 5215. However, we somehow managed to tackle this situation, and the ratio of cases is decreasing. But the government has implemented prohibitory orders with various restrictions till July 15, 2021.
The small land of the Himalayan is gifted with mystic natural beauty, a diversified landscape, trekking adventures, snow capped mountains, impeccable art which is explored by millions of people across the globe. The heavenly country welcomes thousands of visitors across the world thus tourism is one of the significant sources of economy. The tourism industry is responsible for 8% of Gross Development Product (GDP) and about 1.5 million jobs. Our country Nepal has welcomed a surreal number of tourists for the past few years, and we hoped to amass a greater number of tourists in 2020 through the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign. Unfortunately, we had to cancel that campaign due to the worldwide spread of the COVID virus. Due to the abolishment of tourism packages, almost ten thousand jobs of tourist guides are lost. According to The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, our country had to bear a loss of around 3 million revenues due to prevailing lockdown in the country. However, after the end of the first lockdown Boundless Adventure was able to conduct Everest Base Camp Trekking, Everest Helicopter tour, Manaslu Trekking, Upper Mustang trekking, and Culture tour, however, have to strictly follow the quarantine rule; the visitors stayed compulsory 10 days quarantine and after they were tested negative, they were allowed to visit the country.
The situation is unimaginable to date; around 9,000 people are the prey to this virus, the economy is sinking, people are going through tough times, the overall nation is in a state of fallen spirits. However, the government is trying to get rid of this lethal virus. It is estimated that 2.61 million people were vaccinated with the first dose of COVID shield. Similarly, we have received 1 million doses of COVID shield from India and 1 million doses of Vero cell from China which has been vaccinated to about 5% of the total population. Another great news arrived late at the starting of July, the Chinese government pleaded to help with 8 million doses of Vero Cell. On 12th July 2021, the US ambassador handed about 1.5 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines to the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP). It is estimated that around 10 million people will be affected by those available vaccines. Side by side some efforts are made to entice tourists to our country. In the starting week of July, the government has uplifted the limit of local flights. The number of international flights is going to increase. Citizens from China, India, Qatar, Foreigners are allowed to permit in Nepal and an additional number of nations will be added soon. However, travelers need to follow the strict protocol; they must exhibit a negative test of PCR within 72 hours and if they are vaccinated, they must show proof. Further mandatory 5-7 days quarantine is needed for a safe passage of travel in the country while you are double vaccinated. If you are non-Covid-19 vaccinated, you are not allowed to travel in Nepal. There are some positive signs ahead of us to travel freely.
Lately we all human beings have gone through the worst period of our life; we have not been able to enjoy our life to the fullest. But these times will eventually come to an end, we will travel more in the serene land of Nepal and together we will be forgetting every low of our life, and we will rejuvenate again in a small paradise of the world. Still have to check it out about COVID 19 and Vaccines in Nepal.
Does anyone think to travel to Nepal recently? It is totally open and you can get an arrival visa in the airport of Nepal. in fact, you should have double does of vaccinated paper with you and a PCR report within 72 hours.