More areas getting sealed in Kathmandu as cases riseWith the Valley lacking isolation facilities, asymptomatic patients are staying home while the local authorities wish for more help from the federal government.
It’s been four days since Kamini Devi, 35, has not gone out of her rented flat that she shares with her husband and two sons.
Local authorities sealed her locality in Koteshwor, Kathmandu, on August 10 after more than three dozen people tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I am scared because I have asthma,” said Devi. Health officials say asthma patients are more likely to develop severe symptoms if they are infected with the coronavirus.
Devi does not have coronavirus. She, along with her family, went to the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital on Tuesday to get tested because she was one of the 141 persons the ward office chose for testing after four shopkeepers in Koteshwor were found infected with the virus on August 2.
“Despite testing negative, we are staying in isolation as others in the area are not willing to get tested since they may have to go to hospital for treatment,” she said.
Koteshwor is one of the areas with rising numbers of coronavirus cases within Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
As of Thursday, there were 665 cases of coronavirus in Kathmandu, city authorities said. The figures for Friday have not been received from the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division of the Health Ministry.
In addition to Koteshwor, the most affected areas are Maharajgunj to Sahid Gangalal Hospital area with 30 cases, Baluwatar with 29 cases, Hadigaun with 20 cases, New Baneshwor with 35 cases and Mahaboudha and Ason area with 25 cases, according to Gyan Bahadur Oli, the Covid-19 focal person at Urban Health Division of Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
Meanwhile, ward offices are scampering to control further spread by sealing off areas like in Koteshwor. Movement in these areas has been completely restricted and shops remain closed.
“The ward is working on contact tracing, implementing effective sealing of areas and addressing the problems faced by locals,” said Navaraj Parajuli, chairperson of ward 32 where Koteshwor lies.
Local authorities and the police make the decision on sealing areas, according to Senior Superintendent of Police, Sushil Kumar Yadav, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Office, Ranipokhari.
So far, 19 areas in Bhaktapur district, six in Kathmandu district and one in Lalitpur district have been sealed, according to data provided by the police office. While whole areas are sealed in Kathmandu and Lalitpur, individual houses are sealed in Bhaktapur and each of these are counted as one area.
With hospital beds not easily available, the Ministry of Health has advised people with no symptoms to stay at home.
In Koteshwor about half a dozen asymptomatic patients are staying in home isolation, said Hira Devi Pokharel, an official of ward 32.
Lack of isolation centres has been an issue in Kathmandu. Local authorities say with so many people entering the Valley every day, they cannot manage enough quarantine and isolation centres. It is the federal government’s responsibility, they say.
Ward 14, which includes Kalimati, Balkhu and Kalanki, an entry point to the city, is another area with a high number of positive cases. As of Friday afternoon, 44 persons in the ward were found to be infected with the coronavirus.
The Valley has so far reported 1,696 cases, with 119 reported on Friday. Across the country, 25,551 persons have been infected with coronavirus, with 594 additional cases on Friday. The death toll stands at 99, with 9 in Kathmandu Valley.
Sapkota is worried that she has not been able to get more people in her ward tested.
“We don’t know how to conduct the tests as we do not have adequate funds,” Sapkota said.
She wishes to get more help from the central government.
Meanwhile, people like Kamini Devi of Koteshwor continue to stay at their rented flat.
“We haven’t decided anything on allowing movement in the area and there are no alternatives to sealing it,” said ward 32 official Pokharel.