Quarantine centre set up by Province 2 government in Dhanusa lacks basic facilitiesThe facility does not have a running water supply or enough soaps, say health workers.
The 250-bed quarantine facility set up by Nepali Army at Ganguli in Dhanusa currently has 19 people, all of them returnees from India and Qatar.
But the facility, set up at the behest of the Province 2 government, is ill-equipped to function effectively, says Ashok Thakur, a health assistant deployed at the facility.
According to Thakur, the place lacks even the basic facilities like running water and soap.
“We are living in tents. We don’t have any protective gear and the medical equipment to conduct health check-ups of the quarantined patients. The only protection we have are face masks, that’s all,” he said.
There are 11 health workers, 14 Nepal Army soldiers, one Assistant Sub Inspector from Nepal Police and one Assistant Sub Inspector from Armed Police Force deployed at the facility. None of them has personal protective equipment.
“There’s no management of health and safety at the facility. We have been put on duty to save lives but we can only do so if we can protect ourselves first,” said one security personnel from Nepal Army.
On Friday morning, a team led by Gopal Regmi, chief executive officer of Janakpudham Sub Metropolis, inspected the facility and assured to provide water supply, soaps and sanitisers.
“There's a shortage of face masks. There are no buckets, soaps and hand sanitisers here,” Regmi said. “The Sub Metropolis will immediately take steps to manage these items.”
The Nepal Army has been providing meals to the quarantined people.
Captain Subid Basnet said the soldiers deployed at the facility were at risk because they did not have any protective gear.
“The soldiers who are feeding the people in quarantine don’t have Personal Protective Equipment. They have to go near the quarantined people but have nothing to protect them from the possible infection,'' he said.
The people staying in quarantine, too, are not pleased with the management, or lack thereof, of the facility.
“It doesn’t feel safe here. There’s not enough water in the taps to wash our hands. I feel my health is more compromised here than it would be if I was staying at my own house,” sad a 34-year-old quarantine patient. “There’s no internet, no TV, no books and papers. It’s difficult to spend time.”
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of June 2, 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 6,321,836 people with 375,657 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 198,140 with 5,608 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 72,460 confirmed cases with 1,543 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 2,099 cases with eight 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.