Narainapur descends into chaos with Covid-19 patients yet to be moved to isolation wardsOn Tuesday, the district administration decided to remodel spaces in Nepalgunj and Kohalpur as isolation wards, before the locals argued the infected be sent home.
As many as 59 Covid-19 patients are still housed at the quarantine centre for a lack of isolation wards at Narainapur Rural Municipality-5, in Banke. A total of 68 individuals have tested positive for the coronavirus in Narainapur alone. In Banke, the number has hit 93, the highest in the country.
Narainapur is fast becoming the most active Covid-19 hotspot, with 59 infections diagnosed on Monday alone. There’s widespread fear among health workers that the infection will enter communities.
Bheri Hospital’s chief of medical bureau Rajendra Pandey said infection was already widespread in Narainapur. “The worst is yet to come. The spread has been rampant because of mismanaged quarantine centres,” he said.
Fears among public as well as health workers have further escalated after a 25-year-old man died of Covid-19 at a quarantine facility in Narainapur on Sunday.
The man had recently returned from Maharastra state in India on foot and was stranded at the border for a day before he was placed at the facility set up at Dipendra Secondary in Narainapur on May 12, according to rural municipality officials.
His swabs were collected on Saturday, and by the evening his health condition had started to deteriorate, according to the office of the rural municipality.
He was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Sunday afternoon at Bheri Hospital lab, hours after his death.
According to Prem Buda, in-charge of the quarantine facility, the deceased had suffered from diarrhoea and reported a headache the previous night. He was given Jeevan Jal (rehydration solution), which proved to be of little help.
Locals have decried the authorities failure to mount effective response against the virus. They said the man who died in quarantine would have survived had he been taken to the hospital when he started to show symptoms.
To move the infected from quarantine facilities, Province 5 government has decided to set up an isolation ward at a primary health centre in Narainapur but there’s a lack of manpower and equipment necessary for the isolation ward, provincial offficials say.
Locals have demanded that there should be at least a primary health centre-level facility to treat the infected people.
But there’s a lack of isolation wards in the whole district with the Covid-19 specific Sushil Koirala Prakhar Hospital in Khajura already full with patients. The hospital has a capacity of 26 beds.
The health centre in Narainapur lacks electricity, according to Istiak Ahmed Shah, chief of Narainapur Rural Municipality.
The eight infected on Friday were taken to Beljhundi’s Covid-19 specific hospital in Dang. In Narainapur, 68 people have been diagnosed with the disease so far. The rural municipality has 13 quarantine centres with 718 individuals.
The rural municipality is currently sealed. Banke’s Chief District Officer Kumar Bahadur Khadka said that the local unit has been declared a “high-risk zone”.
“The movement of people is completely restricted in the local unit,” he said.
Assistant Chief District Officer Hari Pyakurel said that the local primary health centre has been designated for the treatment of the coronavirus patients, with private hospitals in Nepalgunj assisting with extra beds.
But on Tuesday afternoon, the 57 infected in Narainapur rejected the district administration’s plan to move them to the isolation wards in Nepalgunj.
Meanwhile, locals in Narainapur have been demanding the authorities to send the quarantined people home, arguing that they have shown no symptoms of the disease.
With the Khajura-based Sushil Koirala Prakhar Hospital full to its capacity and a lack of resources at the local primary health centre, the infected are still housed at the quarantine centres. But a meeting of district administration on Tuesday afternoon decided to move the infected to Lions Dental Hospital in Nepalgunj and to the seminar hall at Kohalpur-based Agriculture Development Bank, which would be turned to an isolation ward.
Pyakurel said that while the ambulances to transport the patients are on standby at the quarantine centres, there is risk that the infected may leave the facilities. “The district administration has therefore deployed police personnel around the area,” he said.
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.