The COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre has floated a proposal to categorise COVID-19 affected areas into four different coloured groups to tackle crisis situation strategically.

CCMC, an apex government body formed to take decisions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, has proposed that the government is not required to impose blanket lockdown or prohibition order in large areas. The meeting proposed the idea to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, also the CCMC's Chair, recommending the government go for 'smart lockdown'.

The proposal was forwarded just a couple of days after the Ministry of Health and Population said the country might see a third wave of COVID-19 with the dangerous delta variant likely to rage across the country.

As per the new proposal, the districts or largely infected areas will now be categorised as red, amber, yellow and green zones depending on the status of COVID-19 cases, red for most affected and vulnerable zones and green for safe areas.

However, the categorisation will not be solely dependant on the number of new COVID-19 infections. According to the CCMC, the zones will be determined with respect to various other criteria. For instance, the seriousness of COVID-19 impact, availability of hospitals, doctors, ventilators and other medical supplements, death rate and other factors.

Nurhari Khatiwada, spokesperson for CCMC, said the next lockdown, if approved by the government, would be more scientific and practical. "The smart lockdown will not create sense of panic among people who are comparatively safe and it will help control the spread of the virus in the risk zone," he added.

Kahtaiwada further said that since more people had started receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, it was very important for the government to change the modality of lockdown. "The severity of COVID-19 is comparatively lower among the inoculated population. So, we might also categorise urban areas with high number of cases as less dangerous if many people have received the vaccine," Khatiwata told THT.

The government is likely to take a decision on this matter in the next CCMC meeting. COV- ID-19 cases have been gradually increasing in the country, mostly in the eastern city areas after the government relaxed the prohibitory orders.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 1 2021, of The Himalayan Times.