Man suspected of having coronavirus refuses to stay in isolation ward and returns homeIt is learnt that the man, a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia, returned to Nepal a week ago.
A fever patient suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus has returned home from the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan after refusing to stay in the isolation ward.
The man from Rangeli in Morang district had visited Koshi Hospital in Biratnagar after suffering from cold, cough and fever. He was referred to the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences on Saturday after the health workers suspected of possible Covid-19 infection.
Doctors under the Coronavirus Rapid Response Committee formed by the BP Koirala Insititute of Health Sciences urged the man to stay in the isolation ward, but he refused.
“The man refused to stay at the hospital and returned home. He told us that he took a passenger bus from Biratnagar to Dharan. All the passengers travelling on that vehicle need to be searched if the man is tested positive of Covid-19,” a doctor at the hospital told the Post, preferring anonymity.
It is learnt that the man, a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia, returned to Nepal a week ago. He said he would visit the institute on Sunday to provide throat and nasal swab, the doctor said.
The BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences has set up a health desk to examine people suspected of having the novel coronavirus.
“We have started examining people who arrived home from coronavirus-affected countries in the past 14 days,” said Dr Ashok Iyer, the assistant spokesperson of the institute. The institute collects the patients’ throat and nasal swabs and sends them to Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Kathamndu, as it does not have the necessary tools and technology to conduct laboratory tests.
The BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences had earlier sent three samples collected from those who returned from abroad but they all tested negative for Covid-19.
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.