Amid the continuous surge in COVID-19 cases, the Nepal government has decided not to bear expenses of all virus-infected people and not to bury infected people who died during home isolation. The decision, which was made earlier week by KP Sharma Oli-led administration, has been made public on Sunday through the daily COVID-19 briefing held by Ministry of Health and Population. Decided during a Cabinet meeting, a list of people completing certain criteria will be getting the facilities from the government. The latest decision has gone into effect for all government, non-government hospitals and laboratories from Sunday itself. The new decision has left more than 25 per cent of the population (statistics from ADB, 2010) deprived of proper tests for COVID-19 infection.
Made with clay and hay straws, these life-like Durga idols are the product of days of hard labour of the idol-makers. The idols-makers start in much ahead of the biggest festival Durga Puja in the Himalayan Nation. But this year, they are in despair with dwindled business and negligible takers for their idols ahead of the annual festival. Usually, the festival of Durga Puja is celebrated with much pomp and show. However, with the coronavirus restrictions in place, the festivities this year remained rather dull and somber. One of the Nepalese sculptors, Fulandevi makes the ornaments and jewellery that the goddess idols are decorated with. Her two sons and husband help in making and, painting and putting the dress on the idols. The family of four resides in a humble shanty which they call "Karkhana" and make idols around the year for various festivals. As the celebrations this year are muted, sales have dipped down that has brought losses to the family which has been relying on the business for their livelihood. A set of Durga Idol which has more than half-a-dozen idols takes nearly two weeks to be completed for delivery to the clients. Clay, hay-straws and husks are used to make the idols; bamboo sticks and other raw materials are used to give support to the structure which takes around 3 days to dry up and ready for spray-paint. Goddess Durga, Saraswati, Laxmi, Lord Kartik and Lord Ganesha along with idols of demons Mahisasur and Sumbha and Nisumbha are included in the set.