Covid-19 patients reluctant to stay in isolation facilitiesThere are multiple reports of people fleeing various isolation and quarantine centres in Baitadi district, putting communities at risk of a local transmission of the virus.
As many as 17 people who had been staying at an isolation centre set up at a school building in Sigas Rural Municipality-7, Baitadi fled the facility on Saturday. Three of them were Covid-19 infected while the other 14 were suspects.
People’s representatives, health workers and security personnel are searching for those who left the facility.
Similarly, 11 Covid-19-infected people ran away from another isolation centre established at Jagannath Multiple Campus in Dasharathchand, the district headquarters of Baitadi, on Friday. They were later found and brought back to the centre.
There are multiple reports of people fleeing various isolation and quarantine centres in Baitadi, putting the communities at risk of a local transmission of the virus.
Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Baitadi, a hill district of Sudurpaschim Province that borders India. The district has reported 867 active cases. According to the District Health Office, 158 of the infected are staying in isolation centres while the remaining are in home isolation.
According to health officials, the virus is spreading rapidly in the district, as the infected people and other suspected patients either refuse to stay in isolation facilities or run away from one.
“We have a tough time convincing the infected people to stay in isolation centres. Some have agreed to stay in one only after receiving counselling from health workers and security personnel. The infected people, mainly the asymptomatic ones, run away from isolation centres claiming good health,” said Hemanta Singh Saud, in-charge of Dhungad Health Post in Sigas-5.
“Some of the infected are walking freely in the villages. It is so difficult to make people understand the importance of isolation and maintaining physical distance,” he said.
All 10 local units in Baitadi have set up isolation and quarantine facilities, as the district sees a rise in Covid-19 cases during the second wave of the pandemic. According to Yogesh Prasad Bhatta, chief at the District Health Office in Baitadi, there are a total 338 isolation beds across the district.
The health authority and the local units say they have been running well-managed isolation facilities with provisions for meals and proper beddings, but they have still failed to convince people to stay in the facilities.
One of the Covid-19 infected patients who left the isolation centre at Sigas on Saturday says he doesn’t want to stay at the facility not because it is poorly managed but because he feels there’s no need to isolate.
“I left the facility because I don’t have any symptoms and health complications. Why should I stay here? I would rather self-isolate at home,” he said.
According to the District Health Office, around 700 infected people in Baitadi are currently staying in home isolation.
Health officials say that the district is at high risk of community transmission of Covid-19 due to unmanaged home isolation.
“More than 90 percent of the infected people in Baitadi share a common toilet with other family members. It is almost impossible to follow health safety protocols in the rural areas where people stay in large families,” said Dr Basanta Raj Joshi, chief at the district hospital in Baitadi. “Covid-19 is spreading rapidly in Dasharathchand, Patan, Melauli, Pancheshwor and Dogadakedar local units of the district mainly due to unmanaged home isolation.”
Meanwhile, the district administration claimed that it has started monitoring the patients who are staying in home isolation. “We started visiting the homes of the infected people to see if they are meeting the health protocols during the isolation period,” said Chief District Officer Rajendra Dev Pandey.
The district administration has imposed prohibitory orders across the district until May 31 to control the spread of the virus.