Villagers in Achham unwilling to undergo coronavirus testsHealth workers suspect that many recent deaths in the villages might have been due to Covid-19 but since no testing were done, the deaths haven’t been linked to the virus.
Many people who are showing symptoms similar to that of Covid-19 in Achham district are unwilling to give their swab samples for PCR tests owing to fears of being socially boycotted for carrying the virus.
On Tuesday, a 40-year-old woman of Mangalsen Municipality Ward No. 5, who has been suffering from Covid-19-like symptoms, refused to undergo a PCR testing.
“I am staying away from my family members. I am taking all the precautions but I don’t see the point in going to the hospital. If I go to the hospital, the villagers will know,” she said.
Another 16-year-old girl of Mangalsen Municipality Ward No. 5 is also having fever, headache, body pain, and cough for the last few days. Her mother and younger brother are also showing similar symptoms. But none of them has undergone PCR tests.
“Although we have our doubts, we plan to get better at home. We don’t want to go to the hospital,” she said.
On Tuesday, a team of health workers and municipal officials reached Chals village in Kamalbazar Municipality Ward No. 4 to collect swab samples after being informed of the spread of Covid-19 in the village. But the local residents, including teachers and government employees, refused to give their swab samples for PCR testing.
Mass testing of people in various villages of the district is imperative to contain the virus, according to Tek Bahadur Bista, the information officer at the PCR Laboratory in Kamal Bazaar.
“The reported figures only show the number of people with symptoms, that too from the urban centres. In the villages, even those with all the symptoms of Covid-19 are refusing to get tested,” he said.
Achham has reported 2,436 Covid-19 cases since March when hundreds of migrant workers from India entered the district after the country was hit by the second wave of the pandemic. The returnees went directly to their villages, as there were no proper quarantine facilities set up at the border points.
“If there were quarantine and holding centres and proper health checks at the border points, then the number of positive cases in the district would not be this high,” said Bista.
According to Bista, health workers suspect that many recent deaths in the villages might have been due to Covid-19 but since no testing were done, the deaths haven’t been linked to the virus.
“A man died a few days ago in Binayak. A PCR test was conducted only after his death. The results came positive. Many such deaths could have occurred in the villages due to Covid-19 infection but not everybody undergoes tests,” said Bista.
According to Dev Joshi, the information officer at the District Health Office, Achham has a total 667 active Covid-19 cases as of Monday.