Nepal Must Ramp Up COVID-19 Action Before Its Too Late

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Some weeks ago, Dhruba Karki, 38, left Kathmandu, the capital of Kathmandu, to return to his home Nuwakot, a district in Kathmandu. As the COVID-19 cases were surging in the city, he thought, he along with his family would be safe.

He again returned to Kathmandu for a few days for his some important works after making travel pass as the government had enforced lockdown and restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. Before returning to his village, he decided to test for the virus in one of the hospitals. Health officials took his swabs for COVID-19 and he left for his village before the report was out. After some days, he got a call from the hospitals and he was informed he tested positive for the virus. Without any symptoms, he was taken to the local quarantine facilities.

“I felt surprised as I never went in the crowds. I was so careful and always maintained distance and wear masks,” he said. 
There are many people like Dhruba in Nepal, who showed no symptoms of COVID-19 and unknowingly, they are transferring to many people. As COVID-19 cases and death tolls are surging daily in Nepal, one of the poor countries in South Asia, there is a fear that the cataclysm will engulf everyone. The coronavirus cases have passed over 26,000 and death toll over 100. The infections have surged after the Government lifted a four-month nationwide lockdown on July 25. Health experts have warned that the cases will rise in the coming weeks.

The situation could be worst in the coming days as the cases are surging but there are few means of medical interventions. There are few ICUs and ventilators in the country. According to the Health Ministry reports, there are 942 ICUs and 496 ventilators in the country.

Many people in a remote village aren’t even don’t have access to health facilities. People with symptoms don’t go for tests and there is fear that many will die without testing or treatment. Even in neighboring countries India, around 600 million people live in rural areas and many of them have no access to health facilities. People in rural areas don’t go for testing even if they have symptoms also. The coronavirus cases in India crossed over 2.6 million and death crossed over 50 thousand.

In the initial days, the government of Nepal took some measures to contain the spread of the virus. The nation-wide lockdown was enforced for four months and there were some restrictions. Yet, the infections surged tremendously. As the cases are rising the country, the limited health systems and infrastructures are finding themselves overwhelmed.

Many COVID-19 patients even lost their lives in transit as the hospitals refused to admit them. Recently, Rabindra Yadav, 27, of the Sunsari district of Nepal lost his life after the local hospital denied admitting him. He was suffering from a high fever. The hospitals are packed with COVID-19 patients already. The government is scrambling to handle the rising cases and check the spread of the virus.  

As the virus has already passed through different parts of Nepal, the country should ramp up the testing and manage to provide treatment. The government should reach rural parts and treat people freely although they don’t have any coronavirus symptoms also. People also should be aware and shouldn’t fear or hesitate to go for testing. The government and people shouldn’t underestimate this virus and should make effective plans to check its spread before it’s too late.



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