15-year-old sustains injuries while spraying disinfectant in JhapaFive days after the accident, Abhinash Subedi was admitted to Manmohan Hospital on Wednesday. Mechinagar Municipality will bear the cost of his treatment
15-year-old, Abhinash Subedi, sustained burns on his body on Saturday when the vessel of disinfectant liquid he was carrying on his back leaked. Five days since the accident, Subedi was waiting for assistance from the municipality to get to a hospital.
On Wednesday, after reports about Subedi were published, he was admitted to Manmohan Hospital in Birtamod, Jhapa. “Mechinagar Municipality will bear the cost of the treatment,” said Tikaram Magranti, the coordinator of the disaster management fund of Mechinagar Municipality, who had earlier said that they would visit Subedi and extend help.
A resident of Mechinagar Municipality Ward No. 6 in Jhapa was on the first day of his job when the accident happened. Abhinash has been hired by the municipality to spray disinfectant in public places to prevent the spread of coronavirus. “We hired him at the insistence of his family,” said Hom Rijal, the chairperson of the Tole Development Committee.
The Subedi family are daily wage earners and at a time like this, looking for jobs to stay afloat. Subedi’s grandfather, Krishna Prasad Subedi, had earlier said, “They have neither paid him nor have they come to look at him. We don’t know where to take him.”
Abhinash, a ninth-grader at Kakarbhitta Secondary School, who had been staying home since the accident, said, “I was carrying a solution of bleaching powder on my back and it started leaking. I started feeling an intense burn on my back.”
The municipality has started to spray disinfectant, bleaching powder solution, in all of its 15 wards from Saturday. Abhinash is one of the workers employed by the Parijat Tole Development Committee to do the task in Ward No. 6. "They had agreed to give me Rs 1,000 per day for my work, but they have not paid me yet," said Subedi.
The municipality, through its disaster management fund, has allocated Rs 30,000 for the disinfectant drive in Ward No. 6, said Magranti, the coordinator of the fund. "The Chairman of Ward No 6 Lalit Tamang and Vice-Chair Devi Subedi have the money with them," he said.
Dilip Mallik, 40, who was also employed by the municipality to spray disinfectant on a daily wage basis, said he left the job after not being paid. “I worked for four days, carrying the chemical on my back, but they did not pay me,” Mallik said.
Magranti said the municipality in its haste to complete the job started the disinfection drive without training the workers. “The employees weren’t taught on how to use the equipment and about the risk of leaks,” he said.
Tamang, the ward chairperson, said that the municipality will bear the cost of Abhinash’s treatment but had not visited the family.
The story has been updated.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 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 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 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.