Gandaki government orders hospitals to treat patients, or face actionThe directive comes three days after the Supreme Court ordered the centre to make arrangements to treat Covid-19 patients.
Lal Prasad Sharma
The Gandaki government has made it mandatory for all hospitals and health facilities in the province to provide treatment to all patients.
The directive comes three days after the Supreme Court issued an order to the government to make necessary arrangements for the treatment of Covid-19 patients at private hospitals and medical facilities amid reports that private hospitals were refusing to treat patients with symptoms linked to the contagious disease.
Local administrators of all districts in the province have been ordered to take action under the Infectious Disease Act, 2020(1964) and other prevailing laws of the country if health facilities don’t serve their patients, said Ram Sharan Basnet, Minister for Physical Infrastructures Development, also the spokesperson for the provincial government.
The provincial Cabinet has also directed the Ministry of Social Development, the lead agency to oversee government efforts to fight the epidemic, not to approve leave requests by any employees, except those who need time off of work for birth and funeral rites.
According to the Cabinet decision, this rule also applies for hospitals and health facilities affiliated to private, community and educational institutions. Basnet added that all chiefs of government offices under the provincial government have been directed to attend their offices.
“The government has also directed the chiefs of those government offices to make their employees available whenever needed,” Basnet added.
Basnet said, “We have decided to coordinate with the federal Ministry of Health and Population and take further steps towards purchasing medical equipment and medicines to mitigate the risk of the virus.”
The Cabinet has also directed district administration offices to keep ambulances and their drivers on standby in view of the pandemic.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 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. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 deaths.
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.