With the sharp increase in the number of returnees from India in Bajura, the district has become vulnerable to the second wave of coronavirus, which is much more aggressive and deadlier than the first one.

As many as 37 people have tested positive for the virus in the last four days in the district.

Acting Chief of Bajura Health Office Mahesh Chand said of the 89 swab samples, 37 tested positive for antigen.

More than 1,000 returnees from India have entered Bajura in the last few days. Thousands of people from Mahendranagar, Nepalgunj, and Kathmandu, among other places, have also entered the district, but the authorities concerned have not maintained records. The number of people entering the district is in increasing every day. Locals said they were worried as people were allowed to enter the district without any test.

As many as 13 people have tested positive for the virus in Himali Rural Municipality.

Chief Administrative Officer Raj Bahadur Bhandari said that of the 27 swab samples, 13 tested positive. Bhandari himself is in home isolation after testing positive for the virus. He said that many people in villages have symptoms similar to coronavirus, but they do not know whether they are infected due to lack of testing in the district.

As many as six rural municipality staffers and four health workers have tested positive so far. According to the rural municipality, the service provided from the rural municipality has been affected as the staffers have tested positive for the deadly virus. The rural municipality office has been sealed following the infection among its staffers. The rural municipality appealed to the higher-ups to make necessary arrangements to start testing in the district itself.

According to the health office, there are many people with coronavirus like symptoms in the villages. The health office said that they were conducting antigen tests of suspected people, but they had very limited number of kits left with them for even antigen test.

A local in Khaptadchhededaha Rural Municipality Dhan Rokaya said that there were many people with COV- ID like symptoms, but they had not gone for tests. He said they were deprived of tests due to lack of PCR machine in Bajura. Rokaya said that no initiative had been taken yet to manage a PCR machine in the district.

People said that authorities concerned were apathetic towards the public.

Bajura Hospital Management Committee Chairman Bharat Thapa said the process of buying a PCR machine could not move ahead after some local levels showed no interest in it.

Meanwhile, District Administration Office has issued a notice to close schools from Wednesday until further notice to stop the spread of the second wave of COVID at the community level.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 2, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.