I’m sure you will agree with me when I say:
We can basically write off the year 2020.
This year has been a real heartbreaking and eyeopening one for us all. It’s caused a lot of us to reflect and reinvent ourselves in many ways. For me, in particular, it’s made me shift temporarily back to my home country. Ironically Nepal and the U.K both went into lockdown on the same day and opened up around similar times.
Which means I’ve spent lockdown in Kathmandu and then transitioned back to Newcastle Upon Tyne in the U.K during this pandemic. Both Nepal and the U.K are out of the lockdown; however, the two countries and citizens governments are still taking preventative measures to risk the spread of transmission.
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However, there’s already been rumours of the virus spreading in certain areas and one city in the U.K, Leicester has had to go on lockdown.
Here’s to hoping a second wave does not come or these countries as a whole don’t go on lockdown again. While this worry, is at the front of many British and Nepalis minds, many individuals have asked me whats its been like to experience the two environments.
Well, for me, I can’t comment on the measures taken place. However, I can share insight into how I’ve seen the locals behave.
Behaviour of Locals During COVID-19 Nepal vs the UK
During COVID-19, there were many ways we’ve tried to limit transmission of the virus. Whether it’s wearing something or adapting our behaviour. Here is what I’ve noticed people do the following:
The behaviour of locals during Covid-19 for face masks is interesting. Nepalese have been wearing face masks everywhere, outside of the house, walking down the street, in the supermarket and in shops. If you walk outside of your house without a mask, you get stared at because you’re deemed as if you’re not being respectful to others in this pandemic.
Now there’s a fine if you don’t were them outside!
Wheres in the U.K it’s mandatory to wear facemasks on public transport, however outside of transport it’s fine to not wear one. This is something that has shocked me, noticing people not wearing them in the street. It’s been informed that in the U.K that if you’re outside and social distancing it’s ok, as the transmission is less.
The social distancing in Nepal is somewhat very relaxed. Large co-operations to small local shops are implementing the 2-metre social distancing rule. You’ll find many circles spray-painted onto the ground to signify where to stand. At first, people did this at the beginning of lockdown, nowadays many people huddle together. When walking the streets of Kathmandu, you’ll find many elders stat bickering and gossiping amongst themselves. It’s pretty much non-existent.
In the U.K, the 2-metre rule has just shifted to a one-metre rule. However, people out of respect are generally keeping 2 metres apart. I’ve noticed if someone needs to get past, the opposite party on the same path pools into a single file, letting the other person move. On the other hand, if someone pushes or comes into close distance, people aggressively tut or get mad. Sometimes people make rude remarks.
In Nepal, before I left, vehicles were operating on an odd/even number system. So basically, depending on the type of number plates, the flows of private transport are restricted. Those with an odd number plate can only travel on an odd day, and those with an even number plate can only commute on an even day. Similarly, those who want to travel outside of the valley or into the capital have to have an official pass from the government.
However now, they’re slowly phasing public transport back in.
In the U.K, public transport is operating; however, hardly many people are using it as they don’t want to risk contracting the virus.
Since lockdown happened in Nepal, many videos have been shared across social media, messaging apps and online. Even telephone providers are providing instructions before you speak to a person on the phone, on how to wash your hands. There has been a significant awareness raised about handwashing and maintaining good hygiene. To be honest, this should have always been the case; however, now, locals are starting to listen.
Even before you enter shops, cafes, supermarkets and airports, they place an ample amount of hand sanitizer on your hands to kill some of the bacteria.
In the U.K it’s evident everywhere, there are hand sanitizers and soap readily at your disposal. Many citizens frequently wash their hands to the tune of Happy Birthday.
Slowly in Kathmandu restaurants and local places are starting to open back up again. However, those that can’t sit in are offering a takeout/delivery service. Many deliver outlets are using hand sanitizer before serving you your food and taking payment from you.
Restaurants have opened again, and people can dine out. All of the takeaways are trying to adopt contactless where they don’t take payment to limit the transmission. Similarly, delivery drivers are wearing gloves and using PPE when serving food.
Opinion on the two countries of Locals During COVID-19
Please note, what I’ve written have been my personal observations and may not be a real or accurate representation of the whole nations. That’s not even considering eastern vs western mentality. Similarly, the different phases of lockdown and amount of cases. In all honesty, I can’t really pick which country is doing it better to stop the virus. As Nepal does not have enough PCR available to test and the U.K has much more money. Similarly, the virus is still somewhat new to the world, so it’s hard to make such comments on which is the best way to handle or act in this pandemic.
Have you travelled abroad or been in two countries during this pandemic? Share your thoughts on behaviour of Locals During COVID-19.