The number of coronavirus cases is soaring in Bajura, but the district is facing acute shortage of kits required for antigen tests.

The district does not have the facility for PCR tests and lack of antigen testing kits has put the public at high risk.

There are a lot of people with COVID symptoms, but there is no testing to confirm whether they are positive. This has increased people's worries.

According to Bajura Health Office, there is no PCR machine in the district and patients have also been hit hard due to lack of antigen kits. The office added that no authority concerned had shown interest in addressing people's problems even though cases were surging in the district. Worse, even non-COVID patients have stopped visiting health facilities due to fear of contracting the virus. The district Health Office had earlier sent 25 antigen kits each to the nine local levels in the district.

Eleven persons have tested positive in Himali Rural Municipality. The rural municipality was sealed yesterday after two persons tested positive in Kamalbazaar-based lab, Achham. According to the rural municipality, many people may have contracted the virus, but there is no testing facility.

Chairman of the rural municipality Govinda Bahadur Malla said that all services in the rural municipality had been closed after staffers and health workers tested positive for the virus. He said that he was also sick and could not get himself tested for COVID due to lack of kits.

He further added that his office had asked the district health office for kits, but the kits were yet to arrive.

Budhiganga Municipality had received 25 kits, but they were not enough.

Mayor Dipak Bikram Shah said that they had not started testing as the number of kits was too less compared to people suspected of having contracted the virus. He said the infection had already spread at the community level.

As per acting Chief Mahesh Chand at District Health Office, 25 antigen kits were sent to each local level. He said efforts were under way to send more kits. Chand said the federal and provincial governments had been requested to send the required number of kits.

Corona focal person at Bajura District Hospital Chuda Mani Pant said that more than five persons were testing positive for the virus on a daily basis.

Chief District Officer Gopal Kumar Adhikari said that an awareness programme had been launched in the district against the pandemic. He said that health desks had been established at the border areas and people entering the district had been told to stay in home isolation.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 3, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.