Province 2 comes up with relief package for affected peopleWorkers, the poor and farmers vulnerable to the lockdown enforced in view of the Covid-19 crisis will receive both food items and cash as the provincial government kicks off relief distribution.
The Province 2 government’s relief package for the families affected by the lockdown enforced in the wake of the global Covid-19 outbreak will exclude government officials and any salaried employees as the aid is meant only for the poor, farmers and daily wage workers.
The guidelines for relief materials distribution and monitoring for affected groups, endorsed by the provincial government on Tuesday, say the relief will not cover families having any members employed by the government and in the state apparatus, and those who run a business or receive salary or pensions from the government or non-government organisations.
“The relief package has been brought only to provide respite for workers—having no income source other than daily wages, the poor and financially marginalised farmers,” Shailendra Prasad Shah, the Province 2 minister for land management, agriculture and cooperatives, told the Post. “Some people who have no jobs are just unemployed; they will also get relief materials.”
A committee, under the coordination of the ward chairperson, will lead relief distribution at the local level. The committee, which is also mandated to identify groups that are most vulnerable to the ongoing lockdown, consists of the representatives from nationally-recognised political parties, the Nepal Army, Armed Police Force, Nepal Police, and the ward office secretary, ward chairperson and principal of a ward level school.
For executing the relief plan that the Province 2 government rolled out on Monday, local councils have received funds from the provincial government. The Janakpur administration had decided to provide Rs 2.5 million for a metropolitan city, Rs 2 million for a sub-metropolitan city, Rs 1.5 million for a municipality and Rs 1 million for a rural municipality to aid vulnerable families in their areas during the lockdown.
“The size of the package and the food items included will be decided by the local level committee, to be funded with the given budget,” said Shah. According to the guidelines, relief materials can be both food or cash, as decided by the local committee. In order to feed the poor and the vulnerable in the crisis period, the committee will prepare two types of packages—one for families of four and the other for families having more members.
The suggested safety precautions require at least three feet of physical distance between the distributor and a recipient of relief. As per the guidelines, the relief distribution site should have soap, water and sanitiser and families should wash their hands before and after receiving the package.
The Provine 2 government has announced that implementation of the drive will be strictly monitored. Provincial assembly members have been tasked with on-site monitoring of relief distribution in their constituency.
“We have experienced glitches during relief distribution in the past. We will make sure they don’t repeat,” said Shah.
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 886 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.