Authorities not keeping track of Covid patients in home isolation11 individuals have died and 2,232 tested positive for coronavirus in Province 1 as of Tuesday, the data of the Ministry of Social Development showed.
On August 7, a policeman deployed in Biratnagar tested positive for coronavirus. The same day, he was told by the metropolis’ employees that he would have to stay home, as all the beds in the city’s isolation facility were occupied.
“The person who telephoned me said that I will be taken to an isolation facility after the beds get vacant. But until now, no one from the metropolitan city office has come to take me,” he said.
According to him, two days after receiving the test result, he developed breathing problems and telephoned the metropolitan city office, which in turn asked him to call another number. But nobody answered it, he said.
“I called that number several times but no one received it. The phone was switched off later on,” he said. “Then I purchased some medicine for cold and cough from a medical shop. My condition is better now.”
Likewise, an individual from Biratnagar Metropolis Ward No.5 said he tested positive for coronavirus on August 7 but nobody from the metropolis contacted him until August 11.
“Four days after I got my result, four employees from the metropolis came to my house to take me to an isolation facility. But I refused to go with them, as I wanted to self-isolate in my own house,” he said. “I was told that I’ll have to fill a form for home isolation. But until now, nobody from the metropolis has come to give me the form nor has anyone contacted me asking about my health condition.”
He added that he has been taking medicines as prescribed by some of his doctor friends.
According to the health standard set for the isolation of Covid-19 patients, health workers of the concerned local units should call or text Covid patients at least twice a day to keep record of their health condition. The health standard also states that Covid-19 patients are allowed to stay in home isolation only if their houses meet the required standard. The officials of the metropolis should inspect the houses of Covid patients before allowing them to isolate at home. But none of the local units and Covid patients in Morang are following these rules.
Dr Laxmi Narayan Yadav, spokesperson at Koshi Hospital, said, “The spread of coronavirus will not be contained until the authorities manage and monitor home isolation. It will take no time for the situation to go out of control if the authorities fail to do so.”
Bhim Parajuli, mayor at Biratnagar Metropolis, claimed that a seven-member team of health workers led by Dr Prajwol Khatiwada has been formed to provide health services to Covid patients in home isolation.
“This team is also providing medicines to the patients,” Parajuli said.
The number of Covid-19 cases has been on the rise in Province 1 but the infected individuals have been compelled to stay in home isolation due to lack of beds in hospitals and isolation centers.
When asked about the management of Covid patients in home isolation, Minister of Social Development Jeevan Ghimire said that it’s the responsibility of the local units to keep track of those patients who are isolating at home.
Two-hundred and seventy-five Covid-19 patients are staying in home isolation in Biratnagar Metropolis as of Monday, according to Indramani Pokharel, the chief administrative officer of the metropolis.
According to the data of the Ministry of Social Development in Province 1, 11 individuals have died and 2,232 tested positive for coronavirus in the province as of Tuesday. At present, 505 Covid-19 patients are isolating at home.
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.