Corona-virus (Covid-19) impact in Nepal

Corona-virus (Covid-19) impact in Nepal

On the 31st of December, 2019, a virus was discovered in Wuhan, China, which would later destroy millions of lives, dismantle countless hopes, and destroy the world economy. Today, the disease is known as COVID-19.

Remember the times when we used to watch movies about virus outbreaks, millions of people would die?

Well, Covid-19 turned it into a reality. Now it’s not the ‘Movie Hero’ who fights to survive, it’s us, the civilians, all around the world struggling and fighting for our lives.

If it was a movie, an American would have already found the antidote, but unfortunately in reality, people die and are still dying.

Who would have thought people would be locked into their homes for 2 years and counting?

 A virus, deadly and vicious, able to mutate as per the condition, erupted and expanded quickly without anyone knowing. At the present time, at least 3.95 million people have lost their lives due to covid-19 across the world. 

On Jan 13, 2020, the very first case of the novel Coronavirus was reported in Nepal. The victim, a 32-year-old Nepalese Student, returning from the Wuhan University of Technology, the origin place of the mass-slaughtering virus.

To be honest, the Government of Nepal couldn’t live up to the expectation of Nepalese citizens to control the virus.

For starters, Yogesh Bhattarai, then Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, was openly promoting Nepal as a Covid-free country. Instead of closing the international borders, he would encourage foreigners to visit Nepal, certainly not a wise move, was it?

On 14th May 2020, Nepal reported its first casualty of Covid-19, a 29-year-old woman from Sindhupalchok, who died on the way to the hospital, having given birth on May 6. The cruelty of the virus was just getting started in Nepal.

As of this date, at least 9,145 people have lost their life in Nepal. Among 641,000 reported cases, 600,000 successfully recovered, the rest not so fortunate.

Nepal welcomed the lockdown modality on 24 March 2020, and still to this date, Lockdown is in effect in some way.

Did the Government of Nepal succeed, in any way, to restrain the outspread of the virus?

Most people would be disappointed if I say YES.

There was not any proper planning and strategy when Nepal announced the first lockdown, the unfortunate thing is you can say the same even today.

It’s a shame people are dying due to unplanned Lockdown and unplanned reopening of business.

Impact of Covid-19 on the economy of Nepal

Even the richest and economically acclaimed countries failed to save their economy, so, it was obvious for poor countries like Nepal to struggle with the economy.

One year of a pandemic has pushed Nepal back 10 years in development.

Closed business, isolation, deaths, lockdown, and lack of employment, are some of the reasons why Nepal’s economy is hanging by the thread. 

Obviously, the whole country and all sectors are affected vastly by Covid-19.

Every person is facing a severe problem, not to mention the farmers.

Some of the factors contributing to the country’s economy.

·   Tourism

·   Industry

·   Agriculture

·   Education

·   Politics

Impact of Covid-19 on tourism in Nepal

Ready to celebrate ‘Visit Nepal 2020’ with millions of investments, promotions, and fireworks, Nepal was shell-shocked by the outbreak of the virus.

Fair to say planning always doesn’t go as planned!

It didn’t take long before the whole ‘Visit Nepal’ thing was done and dusted for good.

Nepal is a Tourism-dependent country, in 2018 alone, a total of 7.9% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came solely from the Tourism business.

In 2020, Nepal’s economy was hit and it was hit hard.

In a way, you can say, most of the Himalayan region, covering one-third of the total Country’s land area, is dependent on Tourism.

First of all more than 1.05 jobs were directly affected by Covid-19 in 2020 alone.

After months of lockdown, people reached a condition where if the virus didn’t kill them, unemployment and starvation certainly would.

‘Visit Nepal 2020’ was planned more than 5 years into making.

Restaurants were built accordingly, forget about government investment, even individuals invested millions to prepare for 2020.

2020 is long gone and 2021 is also into the midways, but the tourism business is still wide-shut.

Cases of suicide are also not new in Nepal as investors and businessmen are left with nothing but loans.

Impact of Covid-19 on the Industry of Nepal

Not that the industry sector of Nepal was doing great before Pandemic, the Covid-19 made it even worse.

In Nepal, 99% of registered enterprises belong either to micro, small or medium sector, and of course they are the most affected.

Most Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) couldn’t bear the losses and were partially or permanently shut down.

As SMEs contribute 22% of the country’s GDP, the economy of Nepal was obviously going to take a hit.

The overall GDP growth of Nepal for the year 2020 was only 1.8% as per the World Bank. For reference, in 2019 the growth rate was 7%.

Nepal government did responded with some budgetary policies to counter Covid-19 disaster that included 5 % low interest loan fund of

42 million USD in its fiscal plan for 2020/21 FY.

Impact of Covid-19 on Agriculture of Nepal

Since childhood, we read ‘Nepal is an agricultural country. Although Nepal imports most of the edible products from abroad, the agricultural sector surely contributed 27.7 % of the GDP of Nepal in the year 2019.

Most people in Nepal are farmers, some who work a 9-5 job also prefer farming after retirement.

The agricultural crops, livestock, and fisheries all suffer one way or another in 2020.

Some farmers watched their crops and fruits rotting due to lockdown while some farmers couldn’t even grow crops.

People who were in Fish Farming, couldn’t sell fish to customers, the compost and fertilizers for crops were not available to the farmers.

Farmers dumping milk in the middle of the road became normal news, not to mention rotting vegetables scattered on the sideways.

While people living in Kathmandu were having a vegetable crisis, farmers of Terai were devastated to see their vegetables rot.

Delayed planting of spring maize, rice, and other major crops certainly had a long-term effect on the overall agricultural production in Nepal.

Sad to say but the living standard of Farmers certainly deteriorated.

Impact of Covid-19 on the education of Nepal

For the first 4-5 months of lockdown, the education sector of Nepal was pretty dead. There was no confirmation on when the schools, universities would open.

The examination process was certainly a dead end.

Students appearing in the SEE examination were confused, nervous, and curious about their future.

The SEE examination was postponed on the very second day and 4 months later still uncertain if the exam would ever take place.

Some students were happy of course. We all at some point wanted our exams to be canceled but at what cost?

The world adapted to online classes and learning and so did Nepal.

The sad part is not everyone in Nepal can afford mobile phones, laptops, and the internet.

So, online coaching wasn’t that effective after all, at least in Nepal.

People have certainly lost interest in reading and being serious as board exams are pretty much canceled. Students aren’t as afraid and serious as they were before in studying.

The process of opening everything for one month and suddenly closing everything the other month is giving a headache to most students.

It’s time the Government of Nepal thinks about a permanent solution and decides for the future of students.

Impact of Covid-19 on Nepal politics

Nepal politics was never stable, for politicians Covid-19 was like an excuse to cover their faults.

The Governing Parties were busy protecting their seats rather than caring for citizens.

Let’s believe Nepal was moving slowly in the development phase, and yes many development works were in progress. But covid-19 halted most of the works.

Political parties became more unstable with the rise of Covid-19. The government couldn’t fulfill the basic needs of people and yes, the other parties never shed a sweat, until they smelled some profit.

 K.P. Oli

The opposing parties surely didn’t leave any chance pretending to help citizens, in the end, everyone was fighting for the seat, not for the safety of the People.

Like an eagle, everyone is eying for the post of PM and CM, what about citizens dying of hunger, covid-19, lack of treatment?

Surely every citizen has asked this question but the answer from both parties is the same, ‘It’s the opposition’s fault!

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