Gandaki provincial government sets up isolation wards and quarantine facilities in preparation of the coronavirus pandemicAll levels of provincial government working in coordination to identify suspicious cases.
With the increase in the number of Covid-19 infection cases in the country, the Gandaki provincial government has stepped up its effort to set up isolation wards and quarantine facilities in several districts. The authorities have also encouraged sick people to observe self-isolation at their homes.
“A 48-bed quarantine facility is ready in Malepatan, Pokhara. Preparation is on to set up another 50-bed quarantine facility at a Nadipur-based hospital,” said Dr Binodbindu Sharma, director at Provincial Health Directorate. According to him, all the local units in Gandaki Province are working to establish a quarantine facility in their respective units.
In Syangja, the local administration is preparing a 600-bed quarantine facility, according to Chief District Officer Ram Bahadur Kurumwang. “So far, in Syangja, we have kept 50 people in quarantine facilities on suspicion of Covid-19 infection. Waling Municipality has directed 21 people returning from various countries to stay in self-isolation.”
At the initiative of Kushma Municipality in Parbat district, a 20-bed isolation ward has been established in the district headquarters. The facility, which came into operation on Wednesday, also has a ventilator service.
“So far, we haven’t had any cases in the district,” said Chief District Officer Amrit Subedi. “We have instructed the local units to identify those who have recently returned to their hometowns and bring them to the isolation ward at the hospital.”
The local administration in Myagdi has also established an isolation ward in one of the buildings of a private school in Beni. It has also instructed local governments to convert local schools and other government office buildings into quarantine facilities.
In Baglung Bazaar, the district headquarters of Baglung, a 16-room community school building is being used as a quarantine facility.
In Gorkha, a two-bed isolation ward has been established in Gorkha Hospital and Aanppipal Hospital each. “Preparations are on to set up a quarantine facility in three private and one community hospitals,” Chief District Officer Surendra Paudel said.
Likewise, Tanahun and Nawalparasi (East) have also set up isolation wards and quarantine facilities in various places. “Isolation wards with a 39-bed capacity have been set up in various places. We are now prioritising collection of data of those who have recently returned home from overseas,” said Chief District Officer Badrinath Adhikari. “We are working in coordination with the local wards and if we find suspicious cases, we are prepared to keep them in quarantine.”
In Nawalparasi (East), four foreign job returnees have been kept in quarantine set up in Devchuli while 109 others are instructed to self-isolate at home.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of March 31, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. As of Wednesday, Covid-19 had spread to 199 countries and infected more than 8,07,705 people with 39,456 deaths. In South Asia, Pakistan has reported the highest number of infections at 1,865 with 25 deaths. While India has reported 1,251 confirmed cases with 32 deaths. Nepal has so far reported five cases, in which one patient recovered.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.