Community spread of COVID-19 feared in Damak Municipality


COVID-19 infection in six persons has fuelled suspicion of community spread of the virus in Jhapa’s Damak Municipality.

According to the health department of the municipality, the infected include a girl of Damak-7 and five staffers of Nepal Electricity Authority Damak Distribution Centre.

The infected NEA staffers, who include a woman, are aged between 34 and 47.

The girl of Damak-7, aged 16, had returned home from India via Kakadbhitta on July 31 and has been staying in home quarantine ever since.

COVID-19 has also been detected in a resident of Damak, who is in Kavre’s Dhulikhel Hospital for the treatment of cancer. He tested positive during PCR testing at the hospital.

It is yet to be confirmed how and where he got infected.

The municipality had conducted mass testing of 107 persons on Wednesday. Of 107 swab samples examined, six tested positive. Still, PCR reports of other 200 swab samples collected from the mass on Thursday have yet to come out.

Sources said preparations were on to send the infected patients to an isolation facility.

Following the signs of community spread of the virus, Damak Municipality held an emergency meeting. An officer at the municipality’s health department said there was suspicion that the infection might have spread in the community.

In view of the virus threat, the municipality has decided to ban all entries into Damak from outside, effective from today. The municipality spokesperson Geeta Adhikari said a meeting of the COV- ID-19 Prevention and Control Committee took the decision to ban the entry into the municipality. The meeting also took decisions requiring all shops to close by 4pm, hotels not to serve by keeping its customers, bikers not to carry any pillion riders.

Adjoining Kamal Rural Municipality has halted all services to be provided by the RM office and ward offices with immediate effect. The rural municipality has sent circulars to all wards to close their services until further notice, citing the need to conduct PCR testing after the operators of a canteen next to the municipal office were found to have come into contact with COVID-19 infected persons.

Nepal Electricity Office in Bhadrapur Municpality has been sealed after one of its staffers was found infected with COVID-19.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 15, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.