Biratnagar sees a surge in coronavirus infections in the past few daysAs many as 245 people have tested positive for the virus in the metropolis as of Sunday.
Madhav Ghimire & Jitendra Sah
As many as 38 cases of coronavirus were reported in Rangeli Bazaar, an old market place in Morang district, in the past five days. According to Bhupendra Mandal, chief at the health unit of Rangeli Municipality, 15 members of a family and 23 people from a single settlement have tested positive for the virus this week.
"The disease spread in the community due to the sheer negligence of an individual who lied to the authorities about her travel history. Now, the whole community is at risk of an outbreak," said Mandal.
An elderly man of Ward No. 7 in Rangeli Municipality was admitted to a hospital in Biratnagar three weeks ago after he fell critically ill. The man's daughter, who lives in Delhi, entered the country a few days later to tend to her father. It is learnt that the woman produced fake documents to the authorities and entered Nepal on condition of staying in quarantine for two weeks. But she did not comply with the rules and instead stayed at the hospital with her ailing father.
According to Mandal, the woman had been to Rangeli along with her family to take part in the funeral of her father who died a week after his hospital admission. According to a family member, the woman had shown symptoms of Covid-19 soon after she had arrived in the country. The municipal office also said the woman was found moving around the town without wearing a face mask. She tested positive for the disease last week.
"Other family members had visited the municipal office seeking recommendation to return to Kathmandu and India before the woman's lab report came out. We refused to issue their recommendation letters and conducted their PCR tests, suspecting a possible infection," said Mandal.
Fourteen members of the family tested positive for the virus on Monday.
"We came to the conclusion that the virus transmitted from the woman who had arrived from Delhi," he said..
In light of the growing number of cases in the municipality, the municipal office has intensified contact tracing to control the spread of coronavirus. According to Mandal, health officials have collected swabs of 1,500 people in Rangeli as of Saturday.
The situation in Biratnagar Metropolitan City is also similar. Dr Chumanlal Das, the medical superintendent at Koshi Hospital, blames the negligence of the public for the spread of the virus in the community.
Health officials believe that the virus spread in the community from a doctor who was transferred to Koshi Hospital from Kathmandu on July 16 and from another doctor of Birat Nursing Home.
"The disease spread further after the operator of Birat Nursing Home tried to conceal his infection while going about his normal life, and a doctor in our hospital failed to take necessary health precautions," said Das. “The locals have also not been following safety measures to control the virus’s spread.”
According to Das, there were only 29 positive cases in Biratnagar until July 21. The total cases have reached 245 in the metropolis and 551 in the whole district of Morang by Sunday.
Fifteen health officials of Koshi Hospital, seven at Neuro Hospital, six health workers of Morang Cooperative Hospital, three of Golden Hospital and two of Nobel Medical College have been infected with the disease in Biratnagar.
Biratnagar has reimposed lockdown across the metropolis for two weeks from August 1 after a spike in coronavirus cases.
Gyan Bahadur Basnet, coordinator of Covid-19 treatment centre in Biratnagar, said, "Everyone should be careful and follow safety measures to control the spread of the disease."