Province 2 witnesses resurgence of coronavirus infections and deathsTen deaths and as many as 643 new cases were confirmed in the past two weeks.
Ajit Tiwari & Santosh Singh
Ten Covid-19 related deaths and around 650 new infections have been reported in several districts in Province 2 in the past few weeks.
According to the Ministry of Social Development in the province, as many as 643 new cases were confirmed in the last two weeks. The ministry said the majority of cases confirmed in the past few weeks were symptomatic.
The data available at the ministry shows that a total of 5,106 positive cases were reported in all eight districts of the province as of July 30; among them, around 3,000 patients have returned home after treatment.
With the sudden spike in the number of infections, authorities suspect undetected outbreaks of community transmissions in various places of the province.
The local administration of Dhanusha district on Tuesday sealed Rama Hotel, Machhapuchchhre Bank and a pharmacy in Janakpur after coronavirus infections were detected among the hotel and bank employees.
Covid-19 was also confirmed among three staff members of the Social Development Ministry in Janakpur on Wednesday.
Another person in Janakpur, who had participated in a recent immunisation programme, has also tested positive for coronavirus infection. Health workers have collected swab samples of all 33 immunisation officers who were part of the immunisation drive.
There has been an explosion of coronavirus infection in Birgunj of Parsa and Rajbiraj of Saptari in recent days. The local administration of Parsa has issued a prohibitory order in Birgunj city from Saturday, suspecting community transmission of the disease.
Only on Wednesday, 13 people at Birgunj prison, including some inmates, employees and police personnel, had tested positive for Covid-19.
Jailor Shrawan Kumar Pokharel said the test results of eight prisoners, two employees and three police personnel have come positive.
“There is a high risk of infection in the prison,” said Pokharel.
Among the two infected employees of the prison, one is a driver and another an office assistant. The driver had ferried patients from the jail to various hospitals for treatment and the office assistant was deployed at the main gate of the prison facility.
Health experts suggest covering more ground with contact tracing and increasing the range of polymerase chain reaction tests in Province 2, as security personnel, health workers, prisoners and the people without travel history have been found infected with the deadly virus.
“The government should increase PCR tests in Birgunj, Rajbiraj, Janakpur and other places immediately to control the disease,” said Dr Ram Kewal Sah, a member of Covid-19 Control and Advice Committee of Province 2.
“Imposing a prohibitory order is not enough. Complete lockdown should be enforced in Province 2 as it shares a border with India which puts the province at higher risk of Covid-19 outbreak.”
Sah also pointed out the shortage of ventilators in various Covid-19 hospitals in the province and urged the concerned authorities to make arrangements for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in hospitals with ventilators.
According to the data at the Provincial Health Directorate in Janakpur, only nine ventilators are in use in the state run hospitals in Province 2.A Cabinet meeting of THE Province 2 government in April had decided to release Rs 680 million to purchase medical equipment including ventilators. The meeting had also decided to procure 50 ventilators immediately. But the concerned government agencies have yet to procure the ventilators.