Even though the Covid-19 disease is still spreading and killing people and there is a new strain that is spreading around the world, people in Kathmandu seem to think the pandemic is over.
At least that is the impression one gets in Nepal’s capital these days. The traffic jams and air pollution are back to ‘normal’ levels. Shops and malls are open and crowded.
Even though the government has not yet lifted the ban on large gatherings, night clubs in Thamel are crammed with locals, there are indoor concerts, political rallies and gatherings every day.
And not many are keeping a safe distance or wearing masks. It is as if Nepal’s famous fatalism is manifesting itself, this time in collective acts of irresponsibility.
Although the number of active cases nationwide has dropped below 10,000, the recovery rate is now above 95% and the number of people in home isolation has also dropped, public health experts urge caution — especially if the more contagious strain of virus arrives in Nepal.
More than half the 1,810 fatalities in Nepal from Covid-19 so far are in Kathmandu Valley, and there was an average of 10 deaths a day from the disease this week. Some 44% of the total confirmed cases are from the Valley.
The incidence of confirmed cases per 100,000 population in Nepal is 831, which is the second-highest after the Maldives. India is at 703, and Thailand is only 6.
This week, the Nepal government banned air passengers from or transitting UK from flying to Kathmandu.
The rock band Cobweb held an indoor Christmas concert in the LOD club in Thamel this week attended by hundreds of mainly maskless people.