Tests conducted on 49 quarantined in Palpa; all tested negative for Covid-19All 36 quarantined at Sisne in Rukum (East) were sent home without carrying out tests.
Bijaya BK of Siluwa in Palpa district went home on Friday after staying 16 days in a quarantine facility set up in the village. He was declared ‘fit to go’ after his test for Covid-19 conducted through Rapid Diagnostic Test kit came negative. However, BK who returned home from India is still not very assured as health experts are raising questions about the quality of RDT kits being used in Nepal.
“I want to keep myself, my family members and society safe. I will stay in self-quarantine at home for one more week,” said 30-year-old BK who returned through Gauriphanta border point along Nepal-India border in Dhangadhi three weeks ago.
He was later brought to Palpa by a bus managed by Province 5 government.
Rapid tests were conducted on 49 people staying in various quarantine facilities in the first phase in Palpa. Chief District Officer Yadav Subedi said all 49 samples tested negative for Covid-19.
“The quarantined people whose test results were negative were sent home on Friday and Saturday. We have asked them to stay in self-quarantine at home,” he added.
Testing for novel coronavirus in the district started after the people representatives stressed the need to test all individuals staying in quarantine facilities and those who are staying in self-quarantine.
“The RDT should be conducted on all recent returnees to the district. Some are in self-quarantine at home. The authorities should continue to test as many people as possible,” said Raman Bahadur Thapa, mayor of Rampur Municipality.
As many as 15 people are staying in quarantine facilities in the district.
Balaram Sunar, a resident of ward No 6 in Rampur Municipality, entered his home on the 21st day of his arrival in Nepal. Like BK he had also gone to India for work and returned home amid coronavirus fears in India.
“I don’t have any symptoms of Covid-19 and the RDT also showed negative for the virus. I am finally going home from the quarantine. But I will stay in home quarantine,” Sunar told the Post.
Santosh Rana of Siluwa was relieved as his Covid-19 test result came negative because he had caught fever after returning from India two weeks ago. “I suffered from fever on the first day of my arrival. But I was okay the next day. Now that the test has been conducted and the test result is negative, I feel relieved,” he said.
Around 1,000 people returned to their homes in Palpa from India in the past one month.
In Rukum (East), all 36 people—who had been staying in a quarantine facility at Sisne—have been sent home without any test.
Chief District Officer Mohan Prasad Aryal said the people quarantined at a local school in Sisne Ward No 5 were sent home on Wednesday, as they did not show any symptoms of the novel coronavirus during their two weeks stay in the quarantine facility. All 36 had returned from India.
Rukum (East) has set up 74-bed quarantine facilities in Sisne, Puthauttarganga and Bhume rural municipalities. Currently, no one is in the quarantine facility.
(Hari Gautam contributed reporting from Rukum)
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 22, 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 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 31,405,983 people with 967,505 deaths and 22,990,260 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,557,573 with 88,943 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 306,304 confirmed cases with 6,420 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 65,276 cases with 427 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.