“Dasain holds too much cultural importance for Nepalis to skip it,” explains Mahesh Kumar Maskey of the Nepal Public Health Foundation. “This year, it comes after months of sporadic lockdowns. People are experiencing mask and lockdown fatigue, and can only have so much self-discipline. So, the chances of people being less careful during Dasain is high.”
Maskey says people have to make compromises, even if we have to meet and greet family or travel to home districts we should take great precautions – not just for ourselves but for elderly relatives we are seeking blessings from.
Every year, around 2 million people leave Kathmandu to go to their hometowns for Dasain, according to the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs that operates inter-district buses. However, this year, there are reported to be fewer people travelling out even though Kathmandu Valley is Nepal’s Covid hotbed.
On Friday, the country recorded 4,499 new infections, taking the total confirmed cases to 153,008. Of these, 2,720 were in Kathmandu Valley. With 17 more deaths, the total fatalities now stands at 829. There are nearly 50,000 active cases, and the numbers needing ICU treatment and ventilators continue to rise.