Narayan Campus in Dailekh reports more than half the district’s coronavirus casesAll returnees to Dailekh from India are sent to the facility at Narayan Campus before being sent to their local units. This, many believe, has turned the facility into a breeding ground for the virus.
Dailekh has reported a total of 218 coronavirus cases as of Thursday. Among them, 194 were reported from a quarantine facility set up at Narayan Campus in Narayan Municipality.
Many believe that the facility at Narayan Campus has turned into a breeding ground for the virus, as all returnees to Dailekh from India are sent to the facility before being sent to their local units.
“The number of positive cases in the facility has increased exponentially in the past few weeks,” said Yubaraj Kattel, chief district officer of Dailekh. “A large number of returnees arrived in Dailekh in the past two weeks, and they were allowed into the crowded and mismanaged facility without any health check ups.”
He added that most local units in the district are ill-prepared to manage quarantine facilities for returnees.
According to the data of the District Administration Office, around 10,700 people have reached Dailekh from India since mid-May. A majority of them were kept at Narayan Campus quarantine before being sent to their respective local units.
“We haven’t been able to manage quarantine facilities given the massive influx of migrant workers,” said Kattel. The district’s quarantine facilities have the capacity to hold 7,552 individuals, but currently there are 9,208 people quarantined in various facilities of the district.
The rate of infection has increased, as most of the returnees from India travel to the district in groups. In Ward No. 5 of Narayan Municipality, 17 people recently tested positive for coronavirus. All of them had entered the district in a group.
Reeta Bhandari, director at the Provincial Health Directorate, said most of the returnees who passed through the Banbasa border point are found to be infected.
“Those who came from Banbasa were found travelling in groups and sharing food and shelter. Because of this, the virus spread easily like wildfire,” said Bhandari.
The district is witnessing an almost daily increase in Covid-19 cases, and the authorities are struggling to stem the spread of the virus.
“Eighty percent of the infected in Narayan Campus quarantine facility are asymptomatic and are not in need of hospitalisation,” said Bhandari. “We have kept them in a separate room in isolation.”
The Ministry of Social Development in Karnali Province has decided to set up 200 isolation beds—50 each in Narayan Campus, Lakandra Primary Health Centre, Rakam Karnali Health Post and Dullu Hospital— in Dailekh, as the district currently has only 40 isolation beds.
Karnali Province has reported 383 positive cases as of Thursday.
On Sunday, the provincial government decided to provide treatment to Covid-19 patients in three phases: asymptomatic patients will be kept at the isolation units of various quarantine facilities, those who show symptoms will be kept at the isolation wards of the district hospitals and critical patients will be sent to specialised hospitals for treatment.
The government has prepared Karnali Provincial Hospital in Surkhet, Karnali Academy of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital in Jumla and Community Hospital in Rukum (West) as coronavirus special hospitals. There are 120 beds in Jumla, 70 in Surkhet and 15 in Rukum (West) where the government plans to treat critical patients of Covid-19.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of July 7, 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 111,655,612 people with 538,565 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 719,448 with 20,174 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 231,818 confirmed cases with 4,762 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 15,964 cases with 35 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.