The tally of COVID-infected cases has reached 427 in Sudurpaschim Province, with the infection rate increasing rapidly again. Though the infection was seen only in Kailali and Kanchanpur until a few days ago, cases are now being reported from all but Darchula district.

As per data, Kailali, has reported the highest number of infections at 224, followed by Kanchanpur with 167 cases. Similarly, such cases stand at 16, 8, 5 and 4 in Baitadi, Achham, Bajhang and Dadeldhura respectively.

Similarly, one each active case was reported in Doti and Bajura.

What is alarming, unlike the common perception, is that a majority of the infected are other than those returning from abroad, including India. Of the 100 positive cases confirmed across Sudurpaschim Province on Monday, a little more than one-third were people returning from India, according to Provincial Health Directorate.

Though the cases are going up, the hospitalisation rate, however, is lower than in the past, with eight persons admitted to the hospital. One of them is on ventilator support. Others are said to be in home isolation.

"The hospitalisation rate is low this time and, maybe it's because of the vaccination, the condition of the infected isn't as critical as the cases in the past," said Seti Provincial Hospital information officer Dilip Kumar Shrestha. "We had one death from COVID in the course of treatment here a few days ago, which was because he was not vaccinated and was in critical condition due to alcoholism," he added.

Meanwhile, even as the infection is spreading fast in the province, caution is virtually non-existent.

So far, 571,945 people have undergone COVID tests in the province. Of them, 60,889 tested positive. A total of 634 succumbed to the virus.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 18, 2022 of The Himalayan Times.