A number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise in Bajura district in recent days. As many as 53 people have tested positive for the contagion in the last few days.

With an objective of offering support to the treatment of patients, the District Health Office has established 65 isolation beds across the district. However, five local levels are operating Covid-19 care units but have not been able to find and recruit health professinals.

In a bid to curb the spread of infection in the area, the District Administration Office (DAO) has imposed two-week prohibitory order from Sunday till May 14.

According to Mahesh Chand, Chief at the Health Office Bajura, there are 18 isolation beds in the District Hospital, 10 in Budinanda Municipality, 20 in Budiganga Municipality, 10 in Himali Rural Municipality, five in Jagannath Rural Municipality and two in Gaumul Rural Municipality.

He further said that preparations are underway to increase the number of isolation beds across the district.

However, Khaptad Chededaha Rural Municipality, Swamikartik Rural Municipality and Triveni Municipality are yet to set up isolation facilities.

Locals said that five local levels including Budinanda Municipality, Triveni Municipality, Himali Rural Municipality, Swamikartik Khapar Rural Municipality and Khaptad Chededaha Rural Municipality have not been able to recruit a medical professional to tend to COVID patients.

"We have operated a COVID-19 treatment unit but we are yet to find a doctor," Govinda Bahadur Malla, Chairperson of Himali Rural Municipality lamented.

In spite of offering lucrative salary compared to government scale, we are yet to find one, Malla shared. "We are running the COVID-19 hospital with support from other medical professionals."

To add to woes, the district does not have sufficient oxygen cylinders to treat the patients requiring additional oxygen supply while under treatment for coronavirus infection.

There are only five oxygen cylinders in Himali Rural Municipality and four cylinders in Gaumul Rural Municipality. The District Hospital has 23 oxygen cylinders and two ventilator machines.

"Due to lack of PCR machines in the district, we are compelled to send sample specimen to other districts for testing," District Hospital officials claim.

All the local levels in the district were directed to prepare isolation beds and recruit health professionals.

With the rise in number of returning migrant workers from neighbouring India, authorities' failure to conduct adequate testing and manage quarantine/isolation facilities has put Bajura at high risk from the second wave of COVID-19 infection.