Covid-19 testing lab yet to come into operation in Janakpur Provincial HospitalThe federal government had sent the necessary equipment and a team of doctors from Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital to set up a testing lab.
Tests on coronavirus suspect cases were supposed to start on Tuesday in Janakpur. However, testing is yet to start because there were logistical delays in the Provincial Hospital in Janakpur. A team of doctors from Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital had reached the hospital to set up the lab on Tuesday.
The federal government had sent a PCR machine with a team of doctors led by Dr Surendra Madhu from Kathmandu to establish the lab. But, the hospital said it did not have a spare room to establish the testing lab.
However, on Wednesday evening the hospital freed up a room to be used as a testing lab. Dr Nagendra Yadav, chief at the Provincial Hospital in Janakpur, said, “It took time for us to make arrangements. But we are on track now.” But on Thursday morning, the workers were still installing electric wires in the room.
The team led by Madhu has also informed the centre about the inconvenience of setting up the lab at the Provincial Hospital. Dr Runa Jha, director at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, said, “We sent a technical team on Tuesday. But the lab is still not set up.”
Nawal Kishor Sah, Minister for Social Development, was informed about the delay in setting up the lab in Janakpur. The minister directed Yadav and Sanjaya Singh, chairman of the Hospital Development Committee, to help the team to set-up the lab.
Dr Pramod Yadav, chief at the Health Import Division in the province, said that they will start the testing of collected swab samples as soon as the lab is fully operational. According to him, the division has also distributed 1,000 sets PPE to various health facilities in Province-2. The provincial government has set-up a quarantine facility at Ganguli in Dhanusha and an isolation ward at the Provincial Hospital in Janakpur. There are 25 individuals currently in quarantine and five in isolation, said Yadav.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of May 30, 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 had spread to 213 countries and infected more than 6,029,950 people with 366,802 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 173,491 with 4,980 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 64,028 confirmed cases with 1,317 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 1401 cases with six 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.