Active cases in Kathmandu Metropolitan City cross 4,000 markOfficials say isolation centres will come into operation from next week.
On Thursday, active cases of Covid-19 in Kathmandu Metropolitan City crossed 4,000 with the number of cases since the pandemic totalling over 40,000.
Starting this week, officials at the City’s Public Health Department say, new infections have been increasing by 1,000 on a daily basis with over 280 deaths recorded till Thursday.
The ward representatives are already in a state of panic about how to handle the rising infections in their respective wards as the government hospitals are already overwhelmed. Unable to handle the flurry of phone calls from people asking for hospital beds and oxygen, some ward officials were recently found to have gone out of contact by switching off their phones.
Amid widespread criticism of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City for its poor handling of the pandemic, City Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya on Thursday held a meeting with municipal officials to thrash out strategies to manage the situation. The meeting was attended by Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi, Chief Executive Officer Rajeshwar Gyawali and several ward representatives.
Even though the 61st municipal executive committee meeting held on Sunday announced Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s plan to build a separate Covid-19 hospital, Thursday’s meeting didn’t make any decision in this regard. A few days ago, the mayor had formed a seven member committee with Ward 3 chair Deepak KC as coordinator to tackle the Covid-19 crisis in the city.
Deputy Mayor Khadgi said the City has made arrangements with Bir Hospital for setting up 100 oxygen beds, which she said will come into operation next week. According to her, an additional 180 to 200 oxygen beds will come into operation at Radha Soami Satsang Kendra at Samakhushi from Sunday. Thursday's meeting has also announced that the City will provide 10 ventilators along with 150 isolation beds to the TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgung, according to Khadgi.
Meanwhile, the City has also announced to set up 50 isolation beds at Nardevi Ayurvedic Hospital, and officials expect these beds will be operational from May 15.
Officials said the KC-led seven-member committee will make further arrangements in coordination with Kathmandu’s private hospitals for treating Covid-19 patients.
On Thursday the country reported its highest ever single-day spike of 8,970 positive cases, and 54 deaths. Of the new infections, Kathmandu district alone reported 3,163 new cases. Officials say, over 60 percent positive cases of the district are from the Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
When asked about the widespread criticism of the City’s poor response to the pandemic, Deputy Mayor Khadgi said, “After the situation in India worsened, I sensed the infections here too will escalate. Three weeks ago I warned the mayor and other officials about the impending crisis but nobody listened to me,” said Khadgi with a resignation in her voice.
Ward No. 32, with 427 active cases until Wednesday, has the most number of active Covid-19 cases among the total 32 wards in the City, according to the City's Health Department.
“The situation in our ward is getting really grim,” said Nabaraj Parajuli, Ward-32 chairperson. “I heard today that the City has decided to set up isolation centres. That is a good decision but that’s not enough,” said Parajuli. His ward with the most number of active Covid-19 cases includes Koteshwar, Jadibuti and Sinamangal areas.
“The City should set up an isolation centre and oxygen therapy facility in every ward,” he said. Until now, 14 people have died of Covid-19 in his ward.
Records at the City’s Health Division show over 280 people have succumbed to Covid-19 in the City since the start of the pandemic last year.
Meanwhile, Ram Krishna Shrestha, the chairperson of Ward No. 9, which is the second most infected ward in the City, accused the federal government of non-cooperation.
“The City tried to work with the central government to tackle the rising infections, but they didn’t cooperate. Now that the City has decided to set up isolation centres, that would provide some relief to the infected,” said Shrestha on the phone, adding, “But these centres should be set up overnight, without any delay.”