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COVID-19: Nepal in Crisis

Until late May, Nepal was an outlier in South Asia and the world for its low number and the slow rise of confirmed COVID cases. The country went into relatively strict lockdown on March 24 and cases remained under 1,000 up until May 28. However, cases have increased over 10-fold since then as tens of thousands of migrant workers began returning home from India, which eased its internal travel restrictions on June 1, and as Nepal began a phased reopening on June 15. Nepal’s case tally is over 12,000 today, although the death rate remains anomalously low — fewer than 30 people have died. This may be partly explained by the fact that, so far, most of the infected have been youth.

Although Nepal has been spared the worst health effects of the pandemic so far, public frustration with the government is growing. In mid-June, groups of middle-class youth took to the streets in Kathmandu and other cities to protest perceived government apathy, incompetence, and corruption. The urban and rural poor have yet to take part in protests in significant numbers, yet they are also experiencing rising levels of anxiety and frustration regarding the government’s response to the pandemic. 

This Article is written by Peter Gill and was first Published in The Diplomat. Read the full Article at –https://thediplomat.com/2020/06/covid-19-nepal-in-crisis/

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