a lockdown loosens

a sabbatical rest, day 164

kathmandu lockdown, day 43

It looks like we’re headed home. The Nepali government has allowed the resumption of limited international flights, once a week on our airline, and we have a ticket for late June. We have many things to do with just a little over two weeks to go, but can’t because the lockdown persists. The newspapers say the authorities will loosen some restrictions next week. We don’t have a clear picture of that, but I doubt it includes barbershops or restaurants. Printer supplies would be nice. My printer says the toner is low, and I wouldn’t want it to quit the day I need to print off our tickets and PCR results.

The loosening seems to be partly driven by the arrival of the summer monsoon season, which is when the rice is planted. Agricultural workers need to move about, and since so much of the economy is devastated, construction and some other industries will also likely reopen. Taxis? Movement between cities? No idea, but it seems unlikely they can open those industries without a lot more traffic on the road than what we have seen for the last few weeks. They won’t announce the new regulations until next week, but our window to do some things or redo some things is closing fast.

For example, we have a list of gifts we wanted for others, but which stores will be allowed to open if any? Already, we are seeing more and more people skirt the current rules. But that doesn’t mean we will be able to do or get “non-essentials” on our list. Gifts for grandkids seem essential to me, but I’m not making the rules. Haircuts seem essential too, but I’m neither a public health official nor a bureaucrat. And all we have so far are rumors. We have made a list of gifts and places we wanted to eat for the first or last time. Not likely to happen, although rumors include possible take-out. Not the same thing, of course, but it would be helpful as we empty the refrigerator and pack.

If it even happens, the loosening is related to a drop in new Covid-19 cases, down more than 75% from just a month ago (under 2000 from over 8000). People are anxious. And some of them are probably angry. There is a lot of pressure on the government to reopen, but also reasons not to reopen. I don’t have access to the facts, so I can’t say if they are good reasons or bad reasons. I’m not sure the government does either, since their crisis task force doesn’t include a single doctor. One reason to continue the lockdown may be the current political unrest in a country where street demonstrations are part of the political process. But isn’t it about to rain for three months?

So, a lot of uncertainty about the next few weeks here. Personally, I’m glad to have a more certain seat on a plane. More certain, not absolutely certain. But I’m glad nonetheless.

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