Migrant workers continue to crowd Teku hospitalCrowding has been a problem everywhere ever since the government relaxed most of the pandemic-related restrictions.
Tired of standing in the queue from 3 am, Saroj Magar was resting in the shade of a tree outside the eastern gate of the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital at Teku, Kathmandu, on Friday afternoon.
Magar, 33, who had a tired look due to lack of sleep, came to Kathmandu last week from Rautahat to get vaccinated and fly to Saudi Arabia next week. Magar had returned to Nepal in the second week of March on a month’s leave, but he was stuck here due to the second wave of the pandemic.
“After running around the city for days, I finally got vaccinated with a Johnson and Johnson jab at the Armed Police Hospital,” said Magar. After getting the single-shot jab instead of other double-shot ones, he was thrilled because it saved him the trouble of waiting for several weeks for the second dose. But his agent at Gongabu told him that vaccination was not enough as he would also need a vaccination certificate.
“I came for the vaccination card on Thursday as well. But I returned because the queue was too long. Some people had been in the queue since the previous day,” said Magar. He said he was staying at a guesthouse at Kalanki and came to Teku at 2 am on Friday.
“Yesterday, they had said they would start issuing certificates from 10 am, but it’s already noon, and they haven’t allowed anyone inside,” said Magar, who is planning to fly this Tuesday.
On Wednesday, when the Post visited the Teku hospital gate, the crowd waiting for vaccination certificates was much bigger. Many people had a flight the next day and were still waiting to get their vaccine certificates until the evening. Although the government from Thursday started accepting applications for vaccine certificates with quick response (QR) codes online and physically from the Ayurveda Training Centre at Kirtipur, there were still over 200 people in the queue at Teku hospital on Friday.
When contacted by the Post, Dr Anup Bastola, director at the Teku hospital, said the hospital has been issuing certificates to those who have an urgent need.
Asked about the crowding at the hospital gate, the doctor said crowding has been a problem everywhere ever since the government relaxed most of the pandemic-related restrictions and warned that the third wave of infection was imminent.
Bastola said many migrant workers were unnecessarily rushing for vaccination certificates even though they did not have immediate flights. But many workers in the queue said they were scheduled to leave the country in a week or two.
According to the data provided by the Teku hospital, on Friday, a total of 71 Covid-19 infected people were undergoing treatment at the hospital—22 in the intensive care unit, 35 in general wards, eight in special cabins and six in the emergency ward.
Dr Bastola said that the hospital used to admit around 20 Covid-19 patients in a day until a week ago, but now the cases have risen remarkably.
On Friday, Nepal’s Covid-19 toll reached 10,019 with 25 new deaths recorded in the past 24 hours with 2,430 new coronavirus cases. Out of 6,182 antigen tests, 1,299 people tested positive, according to the Health Ministry.
Dr Bastola said he had thought that the size of the crowd at Teku hospital would decrease after the government started accepting applications for vaccine certificates online, but his guess turned out to be incorrect. A source at the hospital said the hospital has been providing 300 to 500 vaccination certificates per day.