Jumla organises mobile camps to collect swabs of recent returneesHealth personnel collected 324 swab samples and sent them to Kathmandu through a sky truck and a helicopter of Nepal Army on Tuesday evening.
Chandannath Municipality, Kanasundari Rural Municipality and Hima Rural Municipality in Jumla organised mobile camps on Tuesday to collect the swab samples of those who entered the district March 24 onwards.
A team of doctors from Kathmandu and Karnali Academy of Health Sciences collected swabs of individuals suspected of having Covid-19 from the three local units. Health personnel collected 324 swab samples, which were sent to Kathmandu through a sky truck and a helicopter of Nepal Army on Tuesday evening, according to Durga Banjade, chief district officer of Jumla.
“Initially, we had estimated that we’d collect around 250 samples but more recent returnees came forward to deposit their samples,” said Banjade. “We have sent the collected samples to Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Kathmandu for lab tests.”
According to the local administration, 150 swabs were collected from Chandannath, Tila Taopani, Patarasi and Jumla Airport; 124 swabs from Hima; and 50 from Kanakasundari.
According to the data of the Ministry of Social Development in Karnali Province released on March 29, 8,650 foreign returnees have entered the Karnali region since March 24. Among them, 5,080 are from Jumla.
Dr Mangal Rawal, director at the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, said the Karnali region should be on high alert since it saw a large number of returnees from various Indian cities in the last two weeks.
“The swab collection drive was conducted in coordination with the federal government. We have collected 324 swab samples in Jumla, and will extend our reach in the coming days” said Rawal.
Until Wednesday, 624 swabs have been collected from the Karnali Province.
“Among them, 90 were found negative for coronavirus. The results of the remaining tests are yet to come,” said Om Acharya, the focal person of the Province Health Directorate, adding that swabs will be tested in Surkhet through Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction machine from April 2.
According to Acharya, only 12 tests are being performed every day due to the low capacity of the machine.
“Other swabs are being sent to Kathmandu for tests on a daily basis,” said Acharya.
On Tuesday, 165 swab samples of individuals staying in a quarantine facility of Surkhet were sent to Kathmandu for tests, said Acharya.
The federal government had also provided the Karnali Province with 1,000 viral transform mediums to collect swabs.
“All those mediums have been distributed among the districts to collect swabs,” Acharya said.
Reeta Bhandari, director at the Province Health Directorate, said in the first phase, her office has started collecting swab samples of those who recently returned to the district from abroad.
“We have been conducting tests of patients with severe Covid-19 symptoms in Surkhet. The swabs of asymptomatic individuals are being sent to Kathmandu for lab tests,” said Bhandari.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of May 30, 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 had spread to 213 countries and infected more than 6,029,950 people with 366,802 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 173,491 with 4,980 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 64,028 confirmed cases with 1,317 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 1401 cases with six 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.