Local government in Bajura rushes to send people home from quarantineFourteen of the 51 individuals sent home from quarantine three days ago test positive for virus.
On June 4, a farewell programme was organised on the premises of Ghatal Basic School, Budhinanda Municipality, Bajura to send 51 returnees from India home.
They put tika on each other’s foreheads and the ward chairman signed a document asking them to stay in home quarantine for a week.
But the same evening, test results for 14 of the 51, who had stayed at Ghatal Basic School, came positive.
Two brothers from Samal village were among those who had returned home. Unaware of the test results, the brothers visited their relatives and neighbours and also shared meals with them. In the evening, Tara Luhar, one of the brothers, received a phone call informing him that his brother had tested positive.
“Since we didn’t have any symptoms while in quarantine, we met with relatives and neighbours after returning home. But we hadn’t received the test result when we went to visit our relatives,” said Luhar. “Although we were asked to stay in home quarantine, we went out because we had returned to our village after several years.”
Ward chairman Ashok Dani said they sent the quarantined individuals home before their test results came because most of them were impatient and wanted to leave. “They had been pressuring us to send them home and we weren’t sure when the results would come in,” said Dani. “That’s why we sent them home with specific instructions to stay home for a week.”
“They had signed documents and assured us they would stay in quarantine at home. But, most of them violated the rule and met their relatives and neighbours. The situation is out of control and we can’t monitor everyone.”
Contradicting the ward chairman’s claim, one of the infected individuals in Budhinanda, said, “We had told the ward chairman that we were ready to stay in quarantine for 15 more days. But, the ward chairman suggested we go home as the testing was going to be delayed.”
On Sunday, 16 individuals, who were staying in quarantine at Nandeshowri Secondary School were also sent home. One of the infected individuals there said, “We were told that we don’t have any symptoms of the virus. Though we requested the ward chairman to keep us for 14 days more in quarantine, he sent us home,” he said.
Until now, of the 366 samples tested, 43 have tested positive for coronavirus in Budhiganga. All of these individuals have been sent home. According to the municipality, all isolation and quarantine facilities are now vacant.
Jasi Luhar, health coordinator at the municipality, said, “We have told municipal officials not to send infected people home time and again. But, they did not listen to us citing budget shortages.”
Meanwhile, Shristi Regmi, deputy mayor of the municipality, issued a statement on Monday and accused the mayor of negligence. “Many individuals were sent home even without completing 14 days in quarantines. Now, it is time to keep all infected and their family members in isolation and start contact-tracing immediately,” said Regmi.
However, Mayor Padam Giri denied the accusations saying that the municipality was compelled to send individuals home after they pressed local authorities to do so.
“They did not maintain social distancing in quarantines and had started to misbehave with the people’s representatives. This is why we allowed them to go home on condition that they stay home for a week,” said Giri.
Bajura Chief District Officer Krishna Gaire said he hasn’t been informed about the situation in Budhinanda. “A few days ago, I had advised the mayor not to let individuals go home without completing 14 days in quarantine. I am taking details of the incident. If there has been carelessness on anyone’s part, legal action will be taken in accordance with the Infectious Disease Act 1964.”
Bajura recorded 54 infections on Tuesday, the highest so far for a single day.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of August 5, 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 18,700,119 people with 704,332 deaths and 11,915,046 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections 1,906,613 at with 39,820 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 280,461 confirmed cases with 5,999 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 21,009 cases with 58 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.