Nepal reports its first Covid-19 deathThe Health Ministry confirms a woman’s death at Dhulikhel Hospital on Thursday was due to the coronavirus.
Nepal reported its first Covid-19 death on Saturday.
The Health Ministry, in a statement issued late Saturday, said a postpartum woman, who died on the way to Dhulikhel Hospital, was the first Covid-19 fatality in the country.
“A detailed investigation and a series of tests show that this is the first death due to Covid-19 in the country,” reads the statement issued by Dr Sameer Kumar Adhikari, deputy spokesperson for the Health Ministry.
The 29-year-old woman from Barhabise in Sindhupalchok had given birth through normal delivery on May 6 at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital. She was discharged on May 7, as the health condition of both the baby and the mother was normal. The woman had subsequently returned to her village in Sindhupalchok.
According to the Health Ministry statement, the woman reported a fever and respiratory difficulties shortly after returning home and was treated at the local health centre. After her condition worsened, she was referred to the Dhulikhel Hospital on May 14. She died on the way to the hospital.
According to a doctor at Dhulikhel Hospital, she was pronounced dead upon arrival. But since she had presented a fever and respiratory problems, which are symptoms of Covid-19, the hospital conducted a polymerase chain reaction test on her nasal and throat swabs, which came back positive.
The Health Ministry had later conducted the test again at the National Public Health Laboratory, whose results were positive once again.
As of Saturday night, 281 people had tested positive for Covid-19 in the country, including the one death.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of May 26, 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 210 countries and infected more than 5,589,712 people with 347,903 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 144,950 with 4,172 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 57,705 confirmed cases with 1,197 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 685 cases with four 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.