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KATHMANDU, MAY 17

As news of deaths from the corona swirled, the government showed its true colours.

Until yesterday, the government honchos maintained in the media that there was no need for a lockdown even as deaths reportedly approached two figures a day.

Our giant neighbour took up a similar stance – that there was no need for a lockdown even as COVID spiked to 300,000 infections a day. It is difficult to say who emulated whom, but the prime ministers of both countries announced that a lockdown was not a panacea. They may have their points, including compulsion and interest, for their stance. Sometimes these override the body counts.

Words are deceptive and can easily guile. The government has ordered prohibitory orders since April 29. What is the difference between a lockdown and a prohibitive order? Is the latter more stringent? In distant Britain, the British prime minister tried to steer clear of the lockdown even as the second deadly variant of the virus spread like wildlife, which forced him to call for the unpleasant measure. France and Italy also resorted to lockdowns despite public opposition.

Thanks to social media such as Facebook and Twitters and the all-pervading internet, we are today privy to the latest news from around the world.

All we need to do is to check our mobile phones. Facebook disgorges the latest news as they happen in any corner of the world. For days now, we have been reading about the heavy fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip's militant Hamas rulers.

Facebook and microblogging Twitter are the voice of the people. They serve the voiceless people well by giving them a powerful platform to fight for justice.

Meanwhile, YouTube entertains and educates us, imparting a multitude of skills. All we need is time to learn. While shutting ourselves in our homes during the first lockdown, we picked up several skills, which we could not have without YouTube.

Some of us trusted YouTube lectures more than physical lectures for our formal education in the recent past.

We don't know how many days the prohibitory order will stay in force. But some of us will pick up some more practical skills that will make us worldly-wise, free of cost. Until You- Tube taught us, we did not realise it was a breeze to craft cakes or grow roses or build walls.

I am certainly looking forward to picking up some new skills in the second round of the lockdown, disguised as a prohibitory period. I have asked my near and dear ones and anybody that cares to listen to make good use of YouTube in the coming days to add some new feathers in their caps.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 18, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.