No contact tracing in Province 2 due to lack of medical equipmentUnlike last year, the local federal units in Province 2 have not set up quarantine and isolation facilities, nor initiated contact tracing and mass testing, health workers say.
Jagarnathpur Rural Municipality, in coordination with the district administration office in Parsa, started Covid-19 testing in the rural municipality four days ago after scores of villagers were taken ill in the rural municipality in the span of 10 days.
At least 16 people have died due to Covid-19 complications since May 3 in the rural municipality.
At Chiljhapati village in the rural municipality, where the tests were carried out, seven out of 11 people tested positive for the virus during antigen tests while swab samples of 17 out of 25 people taken for Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction test came positive for Covid-19.
According to data collected by the joint team of health workers dispatched from Birgunj and officials from the local unit, 173 people are suffering from fever at Chiljhapati village alone.
According to the rural municipality’s health unit, seven of the 16 deceased had tested positive for coronavirus. Nine positive cases were from Chiljhapati.
Contact tracing of those who came in contact with 24 people who had tested positive following antigen and PCR tests on Tuesday had not taken place until Sunday.
“We are now sure that the virus has spread across the rural municipality,” said Pravendra Prasad Sah, the health unit chief of the rural municipality.
Sah said there is a shortage of antigen and virus transport medium kits limiting the number of tests that can be conducted but the rural municipality does not have the financial resources to procure them.
“We have already informed the higher authorities to provide us with antigen and VTM kits but we have not received them,” said Sah.
Jaymod Thakur, health inspector at the Health Office in Prasa district, informed that Rs1 million had been allocated for every rural municipality for their fight against Covid-19.
“The rural municipalities should procure the necessary medical equipment from the allocated money and conduct tests in areas where the virus has spread using their own health workers,” said Thakur.
“If the allotted fund is not enough, they can use their own resources. They will be compensated later,” said Thakur.
Pitambar Ghimire, the Chief District Officer of Parsa, admitted that the authorities have not been able to conduct tests in the affected rural municipality for the lack of testing kits.
“There are no Covid testing kits to conduct testing in Jagarnathpur,” said Ghimire, adding that his office has issued a directive to transfer seriously ill patients to Birgunj for further treatment.
“The rural municipality will procure the antigen and VTM kits on its own. Testing will begin within 2-3 days,” Sandip Patel, acting chief administrative officer of the rural municipality told the Post.
Ghimire further said that police have been informed to control the movement of people at the rural municipality.
The rural municipality has set up a 25-bed isolation unit in Hotel Baba in Birgunj. However, the villagers are reluctant to go there.
“The hotel isolation centre is empty and people are roaming around the village without any restriction as they don’t want to go into isolation,” said Sah.