Biratnagar goes under lockdown for two weeks after spike in coronavirus casesWith 11 new coronavirus cases reported on Friday, the total number of cases crossed 100 in the metropolis.
Biratnagar has reimposed a lockdown across the metropolis for two weeks from Friday midnight after a spike in coronavirus cases.
The city office took the decision on Friday after the Social Development Ministry of Province 1 decided to allow the local governments to enforce lockdowns and restrictions as and when required to control the spread of coronavirus.
The city had decided to shut all non-essential services until further notice from July 27, and decided to enforce a lockdown from Friday.
“The decision was taken in coordination with the provincial government to control the spread of coronavirus, which has spread in the community,” said Indira Karki, deputy mayor of the city.
“We have coordinated the implementation of the decision with the local administrations to strictly enforce the lockdown and completely restrict cross-border movements,” said Karki.
According to Karki, the city office will step up polymerase chain reaction tests during the lockdown period. It has also decided to increase the number of quarantine facilities. There are currently five quarantine facilities in operation in the city.
On Friday, 11 people from Biratnager tested positive for coronavirus. “Of the 105 people who tested positive for coronavirus in the city since the first case was detected back in April, 53 don’t have any travel history,” said Ramesh Karki, chief of the health division of the city office. “Of the total cases, 65 were detected in only in the last six days.”
“We are moving forward with the target of testing more than 100 swab samples per day, and have requested the provincial government to increase the number to 500,” said Karki.
Alarm bells were raised in the metropolis after health workers and security personnel were found to have contracted the disease.
At the Koshi Hospital, outpatient services have been closed from Thursday after four health workers, including a doctor and two nurses, tested positive for the virus.
Birat Nursing Home, where 21 employees, including doctors, health workers and other employees tested positive, has also been sealed off.
The Province 1 Police Office has also been sealed off after 24 personnel tested positive.
Jeevan Ghimire, minister for social development of Province 1, said that the virus has spread in clusters, and it’s still too early to declare it a “community transmission of the disease.”
“The infection spread from a doctor to other health workers at Birat Nursing Home and it was also a group transmission at the Province 1 Police Office,” said Ghimire. “We haven’t found many cases of virus transmission in a single neighbourhood.”
According to Ghimire, unchecked movement across the border could have led to a spike in the number of cases. “We will have to follow the lockdown guidelines strictly in order to contain the spread of the virus,” he said. “We will seal off areas that report infections and will carry out PCR tests based on contact tracing.”
According to the Social Development Ministry of Province 1, the number of coronavirus cases in Province 1 has reached 1,024 after detection of 31 new cases on Friday.
Thirteen individuals from Mechinagar, Jhapa; 12 from Morang, five from Ilam, and one from Triyuga, Udayaur, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.
“Those infected in Jhapa and Ilam are security personnel while the one in Udayapur is an employee at the Land Revenue Office,” said the ministry. “
A total of 659 PCR tests were carried out in Province 1 on Friday.