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Nepalis In Austria Hide Catching Covid-19 Infections Amid Fear of Social Boycott

“Many Nepalis caught Covid-19 but they did not tell anybody that they are infected. It was the reason of spreading this contagious disease among the Nepali community very fast,” says Dinesh Baidwar, a Nepali businessman based in Austria.

By Baba Rajeshowri Thapa, VIENNA, AUSTRIA:- Pratibha Karki is a health worker, who lives with her husband and a 6-year-old daughter in Austria’s capital Vienna. As a part of her duty, she has to serve senior citizens, who are 80 or more than 80 years old.

Despite fear of getting infected with Covid-19, Karki has not stopped taking care of her patients, as they love her and she has support of her family, too.

“I get inspired to work even at this time of pandemic because of the encouragement of the senior citizens I serve. My husband is also very supportive,” says Karki.

Likewise, Dinesh Baidwar is a Nepali businessman, who lives with his two kids and wife in Austria. Baidwar is also active as a youth coordinator for the Non-Resident Nepalis Association (NRNA).

During his work, Baidwar got infected with Covid-19. He has no idea, but thinks that he got Covid-19 either from his customers, who came to buy food from his store, or from the Nepali society, who hid this infection fearing social boycott.

“Many Nepalis caught Covid-19 but they did not tell anybody that they are infected. It was the reason of spreading this contagious disease very fast among the Nepali community,” Baidwar says.

Around 20 Nepalis concealed Covid-19 infection and spread this to their families and friends, according to Baidwar.

Similarly, Rabi Chandra Bhattarai, who is a journalist and writer, says that the fear of social boycott is very strong in the Nepali community of Austria and Europe.

“Due to interactions in various online forums, including zoom, the fear of social boycott is gradually decreasing, but still it is a strong factor for hiding this infectious disease among the Nepalis,” Bhattarai says.

Bhattarai, who also works for the Europe branch of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), says that there should be more communication and interaction among people, so that they would talk more freely about Covid-19 infection.

As per an estimate, more than 20,000 Nepalis living outside Nepal were infected with Covid-19, while the infection inside Nepal remained at more than 260,000. Among them, more than 2,000 Nepalis have died worldwide.

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