Nepal | September 30, 2020

‘Health ministry can’t predict virus peak in valley’

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Authorities at the Ministry of Health and Population had earlier expected the COVID-19 infection to peak this week, but now they are not sure when the infection will reach its peak in Kathmandu valley.

Assistant Spokesperson for the MoHP Samir Kumar Adhikari said the ministry was not in a position to predict the time of the COVID-19 infection peak in Kathmandu valley due to unexpected spike in the number of COVID-19 positive case here.

“Spike in COVID-19 infection shows that Kathmandu valley is not in a comfortable position. We need to exercise extreme caution in relation to the risk of infection. Kathmandu is a densely populated city and chances of COVID-19 infection multiplying many times are high,” Adhikari added.

Kathmandu valley has around 200 isolation beds. Out of 6,240 active COVID-19 cases, 3,750 people are staying in home isolation and the rest are staying in isolation centres and hospitals, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.

Adhikari said COVID-19 pandemic could be contained only if all sectors aided the government’s effort.

“We need to take into consideration all stakeholders’ concerns.

COVID-19 is a public health issue, but while dealing with this crisis we cannot ignore the impacts of the lockdown and prohibitory orders on the economy and people’s livelihood, neither should businesses think of the COVID-19 crisis solely from the economic standpoint.

There should be integrated approach to tackle the threat of the pandemic,” Adhikari said.

Coordinator of COVID-19 Management Committee at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital Santa Kumar Das said other cities had recovery rate of around 71 per cent, but Kathmandu valley’s recovery rate was only around 55 per cent.

“Other cities outside Kathmandu valley have already witnessed COV- ID-19 peak but in Kathmandu, COV- ID-19 infection will continue to rise for one or two weeks more before witnessing the peak,” Das said.

He said managing COVID-19 patients’ care had become easier in Kathmandu as the government had designated four COVID-19 hospitals in Kathmandu valley recently, but the government had not arranged adequate number of ICU beds in Kathmandu valley.

“There is enough arrangement for oxygen therapy in Kathmandu valley now but there is lack of ICU beds in the valley. Forty to 50 ICU beds are urgently needed in Kathmandu valley.

TUTH alone gets almost 15 calls daily seeking to know about the availability of ICU beds for COV- ID-19 patients,” he said.

Das said there was need to continue the current mode of prohibitory order. Neither should large gatherings be allowed nor should schools and colleges be allowed to open till Dashain festival,” he said and added that there was no need for prohibiting other sectors. “If there is unprecedented spike in COVID-19 infection, the government can again issue prohibitory orders intermittently for two weeks but unless that situation arises, there is no need to shut the economic sectors,” Das argued.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 14, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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