Government requests India and China for protective gear and medical equipmentMinister Bhatta says Nepal will follow Chinese model to deal with Covid-19 cases.
The Ministry of Health and Population through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sought a large number of protective gear and medical equipment with India and China to combat Covid-19.
According to a letter seen by the Post from the Ministry of Health and Population to the Indian government, Nepal has requested for 50,000 Level 1 personal protective equipment (PPE) that offer the highest measure of respiratory, skin and eye protection; 100,000 Level 2 PPE with the highest level of respiratory protection but lesser skin and eye protection; and 10,000 pieces of Level 3 PPE which provide lesser degree respiratory, skin and eye protection.
The ministry has also requeste1d for 7,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits; 500,000 extraction test kits; 100,000 viral transport medium kits; 150,000 N95 masks; 10,000 infrared thermometers; 20 portable PCR test kits; 60,000 portable PCR reagents, 20 arterial-blood gas (ABG) machines; 5 oxygen plants; 2,000 intubation sets; 20 autoclave machines; 20 Continuous Renal Replacement Therapies (CRRT); 10,000 thermometers; and 200,000 surgical gloves.
Nepal has a huge shortfall of medical equipment to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak, so to prepare ourselves, we have sent a request to both India and China, a senior official at the health ministry official told the Post.
The government has requested the Chinese government for 50,000 Level 1 PPEs; 100,000 Level 2 PPEs; 10,000 Level 3 PPEs; 7,000 PCR test kits; 100,000 extraction kits; 100,000 viral transport medium kits, 150,000 N95 masks; 10,000 infrared thermometers; 20 portable PCR test kits; 100 portable ventilators; 10 mobile ambulances equipped with labs; and 5 mobile ambulances with medical facilities.
Nepal has also asked China to provide 60,000 portable PCR reagents; 20 ABG machine; 5 oxygen plants; 2,000 intubation sets; 20 autoclave machines, 20 CRRTs; 10,000 thermometers; and 200,000 surgical gloves.
Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Lekhraj Bhatta has said that Nepal will be following the Chinese model to combat the possible outbreak of Covid-19.
He told a parliamentary panel on Sunday that the government was preparing to change its tack and opting for the Chinese model to deal with the possible outbreak.
“We are planning to use the hospitals of security forces to treat Covid-19 patients. The Armed Police Hospital, Nepal Army and others will be used. In provinces, too, apart from the government hospitals, we will use the hospitals and other facilities being used by the security forces,” he said while referring to the Chinese model.
Bhatta added that the government was also planning to request Chinese doctors to train health professionals and security personnel in case of an outbreak.
“Since it is not possible to take our health professionals to China for training, we are planning for a video conference training. We are also in the final stage to bring medicine and other medical equipment from China,” Bhatta said.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of March 28, 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 596,349 people with 27,343 deaths. In South Asia, Pakistan has reported the highest number of infections at 1,373, with 11 deaths. While India has reported 667 confirmed cases with 20 deaths. Nepal has so far reported four 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.