Jhapa, March 20
Rising cases of seasonal flu in Jhapa recently have sparked the fear of spread of the novel coronavirus in the district.
According to Mechi Zonal Hospital Bhadrapur Medical Superintendent Dr Pitambar Thakur, amidst high fear of the coronavirus, people are worried over normal cases of seasonal flu.
“As the deadly coronavirus has scared everyone, people are worried even when they have normal fever and cough,” he said, advising people suffering from flu to take medicine and rest at home. “It is better for the people suffering from seasonal flu to stay at home and take medicine, and most importantly avoid going to gatherings and crowded places,” he said.
In view of the coronavirus scare, the health authority here has so far set up five health desks at different points on the border.
“So far health desks have been set up at Mechinagar’s Kakarbhitta; Bhadrapur’s Bharapur airport and the Mechi River banks; Kachanakawal; Kumarkhod and Gaurigunj entry point,” said District Administration Office Jhapa Disaster Management Committee’s Jivan Chamlagain, adding that the health desks had screened 52,715 people until Wednesday.
Five-bed isolation wards have been set up each at Mechi Zonal Hospital and B&C Hospital for treatment of possible coronavirus cases. Similarly, a 30-person capacity quarantine facility has come into operation at Lawalgudi from yesterday.
Meanwhile, as the coronavirus scare deepens, Nepalis who had gone to India for employment and studies have started returning home. “As my college was closed amidst the coronavirus scare, I chose to return thinking I would be safer here,” said Shibani Karki of Biratnagar.
The Kakarbitta-based health desk has so far returned two Ukrainian tourists and 18 Indian nationals. As the governments of both Nepal and India have directed to adopt high alert, bordering markets of Panitanki, Naksalbari and Galgaliya of India and Kakarbhitta, Dhulabari and Bhadrapur have worn a deserted look.
As per official data, some 71,050 people have returned home through the Kakarbhitta entry point since March 8. “Recently, the number of people crossing the border through the entry point has reduced,” said Area Police Office Kakarbhitta DSP Rajendra Pokharel.
A version of this article appears in print on March 21, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.