Public health experts have suggested the government to change the modality of the lockdown and even impose curfews, if necessary, only in the affected areas to curb the increasing spread of coronavirus.

In a meeting held with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday to discuss government’s further steps to contain the spread of COVID-19, experts urged the government to identify the affected zones before restricting the movement of people for a certain period of time.

The experts said that imposing another nationwide lockdown wouldn’t help in fighting coronavirus unless the government increased the scope of coronavirus testing. They suggested that the economy should keep running and the authorities could ensure that safety protocols are strictly implemented so as to check the spread of COVID-19.

“Community transmission has been reported in several parts of the country. The government needs to restrict movement only in such places for at least 15 days to curb the spread of the virus.

Having said that, the government also needs to increase the scope of testing in the affected regions to know about the current COVID-19 situation,” Dr Rabindra Pandey, a public health expert, suggested to the government.

“The government had imposed nearly a four-month-long nationwide lockdown to curb the virus. But, it didn’t increase testing in the affected regions,” said Dr Sameer Mani Dixit, a public health expert.

“I have urged the government to impose lockdown only in affected regions. It is not necessary to impose a nationwide lockdown and restrict the movement of people in the less-affected regions,” he said.

Dr Dixit further stated that unless people adhered to social distancing, hand washing/sanitizing as well as other health security protocols, the virus will continue to spread in the community.

As coronavirus cases are increasing at an alarming rate after the government lifted the nationwide lockdown, PM Oli had called for a meeting with public health experts, leaders of the opposition economists, planners and medical doctors in a bid to figure out further course of action to battle the global pandemic.

After listening to the suggestions from the experts, PM Oli said that the suggestions will be discussed with the Ministry of Health and Population and other authorities concerned to make a decision.

PM Oli also took the opportunity to vent his ire against criticism levelled against him saying that some media outlets and even members of his party didn’t appreciate the government’s works despite its limited resources.

Oli was of the view that while even developed and well-resourced countries were struggling to contain the spread of the virus, Nepal’s efforts should have been appreciated.