After a Cabinet meeting on Saturday night extended the COVID-19 lockdown for the eighth time till 14 June, there has been uproar on Nepal’s cybersphere.
Critics have called the extension “kneejerk” and “unnecessary” not taking account the economic fallout of the lockdown.
Reports said that although the high-level Coronavirus Control and Management Taskforce has been suggesting a partial and geographical relaxation of the lockdown, the government appears to have decided that given the growing number of confirmed cases and an additional fatality on Saturday it would extend the blanket nationwide closure.
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The Ministry of Health confirmed on Saturday that the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Nepal had reached 1,402 with 7 deaths so far. Nepal is now showing an increase of about 200 new cases per day.
Most of those test positive are of migrant workers who have returned from India or those who were in close contact with them. A majority are in the west and central Tarai districts, and all the fatalities were confirmed to have COVID-19 in swab tests taken after they died.
Some public health experts have gone on social media to call the government’s latest extension “ill-advised” and that there would be far more deaths from the impact of the lockdown itself than from COVID-19. By the time the current extension ends, Nepal will have been in lockdown for 82 days.
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