Dhangadhi reports community transmission cases of Covid-19The number of infections in the city has increased since May 21, as more returnees from India came back to the city from the Gauriphanta border point.
Within the last two weeks, 30 individuals have tested positive for coronavirus in Dhangadhi. The infected individuals do not have any history of travelling to disease-hit areas or have had close contact with infected people, which means the virus has reached the community transmission level, according to the Dhangadhi Sub Metropolitan City Office.
As the virus has begun spreading in the community, it has caused worry and anxiety among the local population who are scared to even go purchase daily essentials.
“Dhangadhi is the most populous city in Sudurpaschim Province. If an outbreak occurs, it will be difficult to contain it. The authorities should expand PCR testing and control the spread of the virus immediately,” said Suraj Rawal of Dhangadhi.
The data of the Health Section of the Sub Metropolis showed that 20 individuals who did not have any travel history tested positive for coronavirus before mid-August.
“The rate of infection has increased in the third week of August. Within the last 13 days, 30 individuals tested positive for coronavirus,” said Laxmi Prasad Upadhayay, chief at the Health Section of the Sub Metropolis.
According to him, a teacher tested positive for coronavirus in Dhangadhi on August 22. Nine more individuals who had come in contact with her have also contracted the disease.
“This is only a case. There are many more reports like these that are yet to be released. The infection rate is going to increase in the next two to three days,” Upadhayay said.
The first case of Covid-19 in Dhangadhi was reported in a UAE returnee on March 27.
“The number of infections in the city has increased since May 21, as more returnees from India came back to the city from the Gauriphanta border point. Nine health workers, two cleaning staff of a hospital, one ambulance driver and five police personnel have been infected in Dhangadhi,” said Upadhyay.
Until Saturday, 219 individuals have tested positive for coronavirus in Dhangadhi.
“Out of 219 cases, 67 are active cases,” said Upadhyay. Covid-19 infections have been reported from Ward Nos 1, 2, 3, 10, 12, 14, 18 and 19, as per the record of the sub metropolis.
According to the data of the Sub Metropolis, around 5,000 people from India have entered Dhangadhi since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Gunaraj Awasthi, director at the Sudurpaschim Health Directorate, said, “We have already started seeing cases of community transmission. There’s a risk of an outbreak, as many returnees from India did not stay in quarantine facilities.”
Meanwhile, the District Crisis Management Committee in Kailali on Saturday decided to extend its prohibitory order for five more days.
“We had issued the order till August 30. Now, the order has been extended until September 4,” said Chief District Officer in Kailali Yagyaraj Bohara. “The rate of Covid-19 spread has been rising in Kailali. We are going to tighten security along the Nepal-India border in a bid to contain the disease,”
As of Saturday, the district has reported 1,673 Covid-19 cases.
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.