Liberty Discussion on looking forward towards co-existing with the COVID-19

On 29th May 2020, the Liberty Discussion session was successfully conducted around the areas concerning alternative lockdown modalities, the concept of herd immunity and its effectiveness, relief & support schemes, and how to sustain the livelihood of the economically vulnerable group of people during and after the lockdown. The session was remotely conducted in the platform of Google Meet as the ongoing enforcement of nation-wide lockdown and the need to maintain social distancing denied the possibility of physical rendezvous. 

Participants offered diverse viewpoints regarding the modality of lockdown that should be continued going forward. While some participants supported the idea of continuing the full lockdown measures and trust the government to do the right thing until the contagion subsided, the others insisted that the government should start zoning places based on COVID-19 vulnerabilities and loosen the lockdown where the threat of risk was lower. Likewise, participants also recognized the need to provide support schemes to revive the economy of zones that were ready to reopen as per the criteria of the zoning rules. Furthermore, while unanimity was gained among the participants that the testing procedures should be expedited regardless of the modality of the lockdown implemented, everyone believed that the government has not been doing satisfactorily in terms of accelerating the number of tests and providing safer quarantine facilities. 

However, most of the participants were not confident about completely reopening the lockdown and let the virus take its natural course in order to experiment with herd immunity. The participants identified that experimenting herd immunity was at least not possible in Nepal in where the medical facilities specifically for serving COVID-19 patient was limited. As such, everyone agreed on the likelihood of experimenting herd immunity turning into a medical catastrophe in Nepal. Agreements were instead fostered regarding the move to reenable the economy and allow mobility by taking essential social distancing precautions.

Other than that, the added vulnerability for the marginal group of people in the districts that were heavily affected by the Gurkha earthquake due to this ongoing nationwide lockdown was also discussed during the session.