Festive chaosThere is no room for complacency as most people haven’t had access to vaccines yet.
With barely two weeks left for Dashain, throngs of people have been crowding marketplaces. The festive mood has gripped the nation once again. After a damp season of festivity last year, people seem to be going out of their way to ensure that nothing plays spoilsport this time around. Not even the dreaded virus. But it appears that caution has given way to complacency. There seems to be no fear amongst people as they interact with one another to go about their daily business. Public transport runs at overcapacity, and yet, everything seems to be in working order for now.
It is not just the season of festivities; it is also a season of change in the weather pattern. Cooler mornings and evenings have caught a lot of people off guard. There has been an increase in the incidence of seasonal flu in the country which, coupled with the existing Covid-19, has put health experts in a spot in distinguishing one from the other as both the flu and Covid-19 exhibit similar symptoms. This is all happening when the authorities in most districts have opened up the schools allowing pupils to attend classes physically.
Slightly over a month ago, the authorities had extended restrictive orders to deter people from eating and socialising past 8 pm. With the restrictions now withdrawn after stern protest from affected businesses, clubs and bars have reopened their doors to revellers who have begun to flock in increasing numbers. With daily Covid figures on the decline, people have now resumed their old ways of doing things. But a leaf from the second wave should serve as a reminder of how things can go downhill in a matter of weeks.
There is nothing much the authorities can do now except issue caution and advisory. Movement across the border with India means a higher risk of the prevalent Delta variant making its way to innumerable towns and villages in Nepal. With India still recording significant daily cases that may threaten the stability of the vaccination success, it is vitally crucial for Nepal not to let down its guard. The influx can also mean the outbreak of various other diseases causing added strain to the fragile health infrastructure.
The vaccination process has provided an undesired boost of confidence in people’s attitudes concerning abiding by Covid protocols. The thought of another festive season confined to one’s home can be disturbing, but the bigger picture should be the safety of our loved ones. We can still enjoy ourselves, keeping our social interactions to the minimum. There should be no room for complacency when most people in the country haven’t had access to vaccines yet. With numerous other festivals in the offing, which will see increased social participation, the need of the hour is to rise above our selfish acts and provide a safe and secure environment to give continuity to the unrestricted freedom we are now seen to enjoy.