Nepalis wait after being blocked at the border in Darchula district, in the far west, on 31 March © Nepali Times
My latest article for Nepali Times, published today, 31 March, focused on the Government of Nepal’s policy of not letting citizens into the country since a lockdown began one week ago. Hundreds of people, most of them day labourers who were left without work after a similar lockdown in neighbouring India, are being blocked from entry at the India-Nepal border.
Nepal and India stop citizens from returning
Nepali workers in India headed home on foot and by bus only to find their own country was not allowing them in.
With thousands of Nepalis stuck on the Indian side of the border, legal and human rights experts say the government of Nepal cannot legally deny entry to its citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading
Migrant workers in India leave the capital Delhi for their villages, on foot. © Tribhuvan Tiwari/ Outlook India
India — Hit By Coronavirus Lockdown, 90-Year-old Kajodi Trudges Home, 400 Km Away
Thousands of migrant workers are leaving cities after the central government announced a three-week nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. — Outlook India
Nepal Supreme Court refuses to order government to repatriate migrant workers
The Supreme Court refused to issue interim order sought by advocates Madhav Kumar Basnet and Mina Khadka Basent to allow Nepali citizens stranded in foreign countries, including India, to return home. — The Himalayan Times
No exceptions with COVID-19: “Everyone has the right to life-saving interventions” – UN experts say
GENEVA (26 March 2020) – The COVID-19 crisis cannot be solved with public health and emergency measures only; all other human rights must be addressed too, UN human rights experts* said today. — UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Hello. There is so much information available on Covid-19 that I’m reluctant to add more, but a lot of it is good (or really bad) so I’m going to start sharing pieces that are already online. I’ll do this for a couple of days and if I see that people are interested I’ll continue.
Daily wage workers are more worried about starving to death than Covid-19
Most worker households are likely to have enough supplies and savings for a week but if the lockdown is to continue, they will need government’s help, activists say — Kathmandu Post
Protecting those who protect us from the epidemic
Hospital staff in Nepal at the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19 lack protective gear —Nepali Times
Hours before a week-long ‘lockdown’ was announced in Nepal on 23 March 2020 some shops in the capital Kathmandu were open and traffic was permitted. Since 24 March only essential movement is allowed. © Marty Logan
My latest for Nepali Times:
Transparency. Concealing information fuels conspiracies, rumour-mongering and the ‘fake news’.
March 24, 2020
Full marks to the Nepal government for imposing the much tougher lockdown that we are living under since 6AM today. As of Monday afternoon it was still possible for Kathmanduites to get a suit tailor-made, meet friends for chiya and chat, or celebrate a birthday at a favourite restaurant. That made no sense: pandemics demand much more than half-measures.
Inexplicably the coronavirus has not walloped Nepal yet while it has devastated countries from our northern neighbour China to Italy and the United States. With only two confirmed cases here we need to learn from those sad examples. Keeping people at home under lockdown will go a long way towards ensuring that no further social transmission occurs. Continue reading
Children at a government school in western Nepal eating lunch. © Marty Logan
This article was published on the Nepali Times website on Monday, and got a huge amount of interest (9,000+ page views in less than 24 hours). There was a lot of criticism, at least on Twitter, that the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ that is discussed should not have been broached now because it has not been scientifically proven.
I disagree because the idea has been floating around and discussed informally since the outbreak began, and I think it’s better that it be given a public airing than ignored. What do readers think?
“It just doesn’t make sense!” You might have heard this phrase more than once lately in the context of Nepal and COVID-19: next to the epicentre in Wuhan and host to a large number of Chinese tourists and residents, this country has still only recorded one case of the coronavirus, and the person recovered. How can that be?
You might also have heard, and scoffed, at the rumour that Nepalis have superior immune systems. ‘Nepali people have a stronger immunity power’ was one reason given in this article for why COVID-19 has not hit the country yet. As time goes on and the number of cases remains at just one, could there actually be something to the claim? Continue reading
Nepali Times newspaper, which I’ve been connected with on and off since 2005, celebrated its 1,000th issue and 20-year anniversary on 6 March. Congratulations to founder, publisher and Nepali Times dynamo Kunda Dixit!
I wrote an article in Friday’s paper to mark the occasion. See it on the Times website, and below:
Times change, but the Nepali Times stays the same
It was easy for me to get in the door of the Nepali Times after I first moved to Nepal in 2005: Editor Kunda Dixit and I shared ties with the Inter Press Service News agency – me from North America, he from Asia. Continue reading
A discussion with community health workers at Bayalpata Hospital about chhaupadi. ©Nyaya Health Nepal
Chhaupadi is the traditional practice in parts of rural western Nepal of segregating women and girls outdoors when they have their periods. In the past decade, more than a dozen women have been killed while staying in a chhau (shed), some from a snakebite, others after lighting a fire to say warm then suffocating in a windowless building. Women and girls in sheds are also at risk of sexual assault.
In recent years there has been increasing focus on chhaupadi, including various attempts to end it, such as demolishing sheds, criminalising the practice and threatening to withhold social security payments from anyone involved in the practice. I wrote the article below for Nepali Times after learning that one hospital in the region has had great success in getting its community nurses to discontinue chhaupadi.
Tipping point on menstrual banishment in Nepal
It is easy to be cynical about recent reports of actions taken to end chhaupadi, the traditional practice in parts of western Nepal of segregating menstruating women.