Swab collection of those in quarantine facilities in Karnali districts take a back seat due to lack of human resource and equipmentHealth workers deployed at the quarantine and isolation facilities have been using locally prepared protective equipment for personal safety.
A total of 39 people have been kept in quarantine facilities in various places in Rukum (West). The authorities, however, have collected the throat and nasal swabs of only two of them for the Covid-19 test due to the lack of skilled human resource and equipment.
The quarantine facilities established for recent returnees to the villages from India and other countries lack resources like personal protective equipment, testing kits, and essential medicines. The health workers deployed at these facilities complain of being ill-prepared to do their jobs. “There are not enough gloves, sanitiser and masks for the health workers,” said Rani Devi Shahi, an auxiliary nurse midwife at a local health post in Aathbiskot Municipality of Rukum (Wes). “We don’t have the tools to collect swabs of Covid-19 suspects.”
According to her, the health workers deployed at the quarantine and isolation facilities have been using locally prepared materials for personal safety.
The local units, however, claimed swabs aren’t being collected in the facilities for the health condition of those in quarantine is normal. “People arriving from different countries have been kept in quarantine facilities. We haven’t collected swabs from everyone; only from those who show visible symptoms during the incubation period,” said Ram Bahadur KC, the acting chief administrative officer of Chaurjahari Municipality of Rukum (West).
According to KC, 19 people were kept in the quarantine facilities set up at a local community school in Chaurjahari. “Six of them have been sent home without collecting their swabs because they did not have any symptoms of Covid-19 during their 14-day stay in the quarantine facilities,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Health Directorate said the directorate has deployed health workers in various parts of the province to collect swabs for the Covid-19 test.
“Medical teams have been dispatched in various places to collect swabs for laboratory tests. We carry out laboratory tests of around 10 swabs per day in Surkhet,” said Rita Joshi, the director at the Provincial Health Directorate.
The Karnali Provincial Hospital in Birendranagar is all set to carry out laboratory tests for the Covid-19. A polymerase chain reaction machine provided by the federal government was installed in the hospital on Wednesday.
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.