Amid a growing risk of the spread of Omicron, a highly contagious variant of SARS-COV-2, which causes Covid-19, the national conventions of major political parties in Nepal — CPN-UML, Nepalese Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center), Rastriya Prajatantra Party – have just ended or are about to start.
And what is worrying is that political parties organize conventions bringing together hundreds of thousands of people.
Public health experts have warned that national conventions could turn into large-scale events and prove very costly for the country and the people.
“We must not forget that huge rallies and rallies took place before the second wave of the pandemic hit the country,” said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, head of the clinical research unit at the hospital. of tropical and infectious diseases from Sukraraj.
“Neither the opposition nor the ruling parties heeded the warnings of the experts and continued their political functions at that time, and what happened we have not forgotten.
More than 6,000 people died from Covid-19 infection during the two months of the second wave of the pandemic. And the Delta variant of the virus, which is deadly, is still circulating in communities. Doctors say the risk of transmitting the virus currently circulating in communities will be high if one participates in huge crowds.
Even if one forgets that there is no risk of the new variant, the existing Delta variant is still circulating in communities and making hundreds of people infected, dozens severe and people also die from the infection.
“One can be infected if he has not yet been infected and he can also pass the infection on to members of his family,” Pun added. “If a family member has a compromised health problem, they could become serious and even die from the infection.”
Doctors say even vaccinated people are infected and admitted to hospitals.
In the past 24 hours, 316 people have been infected (285 positive in 10,919 polymerase chain reaction tests and 31 in 1,808 antigen tests).
Three people have died from Covid-19 infection. The active cases amount to 6,954.
So far, 11,529 people have died from the coronavirus.
Most of the major political parties have led government in the past or are currently in government and they are well aware of the economic, health and other consequences of the pandemic.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people from across the country gathered at the CPN-UML national convention which ended on Tuesday. The infection can spread across the country at once, if a highly contagious variant of the virus spreads there.
Doctors say political parties should be role models and work for people’s safety and well-being.
“It is very unfortunate that the parties have not learned any lessons from the mistakes of the past and have not heeded the suggestions of the experts.” Dr Sarad Onta, public health expert. “The parties and their leaders believe that these parties, which can muster huge crowds, are the biggest party. Without thinking about the consequences, they gathered huge crowds. “
Before the second wave of infection hit the country in April, political parties were in a race to show their strength. Opposition political parties were protesting the dissolution of parliament, and then the ruling CPN-UML also held huge assemblies to show people they supported the government’s decision.
Ontario has said that holding a national convention bringing together crowds of hundreds of thousands in one location amid the pandemic cannot be justified in any way, which will cost the country and the people dearly. .
“I am not opposed to the idea of general conventions but given the pandemic they should be organized following the security protocol of Covid,” Onta said.
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has sparked a strong global response, with countries imposing travel and other restrictions over concerns that it could spread rapidly even among vaccinated populations, concerns have also increased in Nepal.
The World Health Organization warned on Monday that it carries a very high global risk of outbreaks of infection. As more countries have reported cases, the variant has resulted in border closures.
Nepal has also stopped issuing visas on arrival to citizens of African countries.
Experts say stopping visas on arrival for people from Africa is not helping to prevent the spread of the disease.
They say fighting the virus effectively requires a number of combined efforts – getting the right people in the right places, increasing testing, making testing, tracing and treatment efficient, and improving health infrastructure, among others.
“Only the entry ban for people from certain countries does not prevent the virus from entering the country,” said Dr Krishna Man Shakya, vice president of the Nepalese Public Health Association. “We have to learn from our own experience, from our mistakes and also take into account the suggestions of the experts. “
Experts agreed that whether the new variant will enter Nepal is a matter of when, not if.
The World Health Organization has also recommended that countries improve surveillance and sequencing of cases. The United Nations health body has also recommended implementing effective public health measures to reduce the overall circulation of Covid-19, using risk analysis and scientific approaches.
“They should increase some public health and medical capacity to handle an increase in cases,” read the WHO statement released on Sunday.
“In addition, it is vitally important that inequalities in access to Covid-19 vaccines are urgently addressed to ensure that vulnerable groups everywhere, including health workers and the elderly, receive their first and second doses, as well as equitable access to treatment and diagnostics. “
So far 8,514,684 people (28% of the total population) have been fully immunized [double jabbed] with the Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Population has called on people not to travel abroad if it is not an emergency and to take precautions, as the risk of the spread of ‘a new variant of the virus has risen.