Kathmandu’s Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya tests positive for Covid-19Shakya has contracted the virus amid rising cases in Kathmandu Valley, with the number of infections on Monday reaching 5,724.
In yet another proof of the unchecked spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in Kathmandu Valley, Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a municipality source.
Shakya, who had come under criticism from chairs of wards of his own city for not doing enough to check the spread of the virus, had been pointing fingers at the federal government for allowing people to enter the Valley without restrictions.
The mayor visited Grande International Hospital, Tokha, for a check-up on Sunday with his unwell wife. His wife has, however, tested negative.
Until the first week of August, Mayor Shakya was reluctant to establish a quarantine facility or isolation centre in the city. But with the rapid spread of the virus and growing pressure from the people, the mayor on August 10, announced he would build integrated isolation centers to accommodate 5,000 people.
But he has little progress to show even three weeks after the announcement. This means that hundreds of infected people are forced to isolate themselves in their homes as hospital beds are unavailable.
“I am surprised to hear that Mayor Shakya tested positive,” said Nil Kaji Shakya, chairperson of Ward No. 25, who had long been accusing Shakya of only consulting ward representatives close to him.
“Now, Deputy Mayor Hari Bhabha Khadgi should run our board meetings, and she should work actively to prevent the further spread of the disease,” said Shakya.
According to a report by the public health department of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, a total of 2,452 positive cases have been recorded in the city as of August 29.
On Monday, 190 positive cases were reported in Kathmandu district and 372 on Sunday, the Ministry of Health and Population said. The municipality-wise breakdown of figures for the district for the last two days is not available.
On Sunday, a record 415 persons from the Valley tested positive while the figure came down to 298 on Monday.
The Covid-19 death toll in the Valley stands at 35.
The total number of cases in the country stands at 39,460 with 899 new cases reported Monday. The total death toll is 228, according to the ministry .
Meanwhile, those who have had close contact with Mayor Shakya have said they are worried about their own status.
Lalitpur Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan told the Post on Monday evening that he decided to get himself tested on Tuesday after he heard about his Kathmandu counterpart’s positive result.
“After we had a meeting at the home ministry on Thursday, the mayor of Thimi and I had taken a photo with Mayor Shakya in the middle. Though we maintained distance, I am quite worried,” said Maharjan. “I have also been meeting and interacting with people at the grassroots.”
Madan Sundar Shrestha, mayor of the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality also plans to get tested on Tuesday.
According to Shrestha, mayors from Kathmandu Valley, Minister for Health Bhanubhakta Dhakal, Health Secretary Laxman Aryal, and Home Secretary Maheshowr Neupane were among those present at the meeting.
“Although we had maintained distance during the meeting, I am planning to have my swab tested on Tuesday,” said Shrestha. “I am already isolating myself.”