Number of Covid-19 deaths increasing in Province 1Sixteen people in the province died due to the virus in the past week, according to the data of the Social Development Ministry.
Deo Narayan Sah & Jitendra Sah
The number of Covid-19 deaths has increased in Province 1 in the last few weeks. On Saturday alone, a 68-year-old woman of Ward No. 3 in Biratnagar Metropolitan City died while undergoing treatment at the Covid-19 Treatment Centre of Koshi Hospital and a 28-year-old woman of Inaruwa Ward No. 4 in Sunsari died at the Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences.
The elderly woman from Biratnagar was admitted to the Covid-19 treatment centre of Koshi Hospital on September 27, after she started showing symptoms of coronavirus. Gyan Bahadur Basnet, chief at the Health Office in Morang, who also looks after the management of the Covid-19 treatment Centre, said, “The 68-year-old woman had difficulties in breathing and her oxygen level was low. We could not save her even though we tried our best.”
Likewise, doctors at the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences said the 28-year-old who died of coronavirus on Saturday did not have any pre-existing health condition. Dr Aashish Shrestha, associate spokesperson of the institute, said, “She did not have any health condition in the past. This incident shows that the virus has started to take the lives of people in normal health too.”
Sixteen Covid-19 patients died in various health facilities of Province 1 in the past week. According to the data of the Ministry of Social Development, 80 individuals died of Covid-19 in the province from mid-July till date. The data showed that the deceased were from Siraha, Saptari, Taplejung, Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa districts of Province 1.
“Most of the Covid-19 patients are brought to the hospital only after they have developed complications. The number of Covid-19 deaths among old people and people with pre-existing health conditions has increased in recent days,” said Dr Chumanlal Das, medical superintendent at the Koshi Hospital. “But the situation has become more challenging, as people with no pre-existing health conditions have started to die of the virus. There are no other alternatives than following proper health standards.”
One of the reasons behind the high death rate in Province 1 is that people are not maintaining social distancing in crowded places. People’s movement in Biratnagar and other city areas has increased after the lifting of the nationwide lockdown. Market areas have also started to get crowded with the upcoming Dashain and Tihar festivals. However, people are not following safety protocols, say locals.
“Locals are showing negligence these days. They are not even using face masks. They are found moving here and there in groups without maintaining social distancing,” said Raj Kumar Yadav, a vegetable seller in Biratnagar. “I am worried that the authorities might impose restrictions again if people fail to follow health protocols.”
Business entrepreneurs, including Salt Trading, have also opened markets for the festive season. But neither the shop owners nor the customers are following proper health standards.
“The majority of locals are not using face masks and maintaining social distancing while frequenting the bazaar area. If this continues, there might be an outbreak of Covid-19 in Biratnagar,” said Santosh Pokharel, a professor in Biratnagar.
“People’s movement has increased in recent days, as the festival season is nearing. We should all be aware and follow health protocols to protect ourselves from the virus,” said Das, the medical superintendent at Koshi Hospital. “It is mandatory to use face masks and wash hands with soap and water time and again. Both the government and the citizens should make efforts to follow this basic standard.”
Dr Saroj Bishal, officer at the Ministry of Social Development, echoes Das’ sentiments.
“All the stakeholders are equally responsible to contain the spread of the virus,” he said.