Local units in various districts extend support to daily wage earnersFood supplies are being distributed by the local units among the impoverished population to see them through the lockdown.
The lockdown has brought life to a grinding halt for many but the hardest hit by the protracted lockdown are daily wage earners. The local units in various districts have started to reach out to these families to provide food and essentials to see them through the lockdown.
One such local unit is Kamalamai Municipality in Sindhuli who distributed essential food items to 60 families of daily wage workers on Tuesday.
“We went to their houses and have given them supplies to 60 families in Gwangkhola area who eke out their living by crushing pebbles. The municipality is collecting data of the poor families who are gravely affected by the prolonged lockdown,” said Mayor Khadga Bahadur Khatri.
The municipality has provided food packages comprising 20kg rice, 3kg lentil, a packet of salt and edible oil, some potatoes, sugar and turmeric powder to each household.
According to Sagar Kumar Dhakal, information officer at the municipality, the local unit has also provided health insurance to 394 families of daily wage workers. “In the first phase, we reached out to 60 families. We will cover all 394 families in the next few days,” said Dhakal.
In Salyan, Darma Rural Municipality identified 165 families of daily wage earners in the local unit and provided them with food supplies. Locals like Bishal Singh of the rural municipality, also came forward to donate Rs 300,000 to help manage food essentials for the needy.
Each family was provided 25kg rice, 1kg salt, 1-litre cooking oil and a bar of soap. Around 350 facemasks were also distributed among them.
Likewise, Gaur and Gadhimai municipalities in Rautahat have extended support to 200 families of daily wage workers and Dalits.
“The impoverished Dalit and families of daily wage workers were having a hard time due to the lockdown so the local unit provided food and other essentials to them, and to around 85 families in the Musahar settlement in the municipality,” said Ajaya Kumar Gupta, the mayor of Gaur Municipality.
Sukendra Ram, one of the daily wage earners in Gaur, said, “We were worried about managing food for our families during the lockdown period. But the municipality has made things easier for us.”
Similarly, Gadhimai Municipality provided food packages of 10kg rice, 1kg salt and half a litre cooking oil to more than 100 poor families of various Dalit settlements in the local unit.
(Shiva Puri contributed reporting from Rautahat.)
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of May 27, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 had spread to 210 countries and infected more than 5,684,795 people with 352,225 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 150,793 with 4,344 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 57,705 confirmed cases with 1,197 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 772 cases with four deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.