In what appears to be a depressing situation, the spread of COVID-19 across the nation is taking place at a faster rate than many of us have thought. More baffling is the fact that the Kathmandu Valley, notably the district of Kathmandu, is turning out to be a coronavirus hotspot with steep rise in infection rate each day. The spike in daily cases has left our authorities, health employees, and health managers gasping for an answer to such an acceleration of virus cases. The high infection rate has also started overwhelming the health centres in the capital and elsewhere. As a result, our health centres are experiencing a taxing time in coping with the inflow of the virus patients, requiring intensive treatment or even ventilator support. Several hospitals in the valley that are treating the coronavirus patients are running out of beds for the virus patients. To handle such a situation, the Ministry of Health and Population has requested the patients staying at home isolations not to visit hospitals until they have developed serious COVID-19 symptoms. Given the daily rate of infections, the current situation can only be termed as disquieting. The country recorded the highest single-day (as of Wednesday) spike in the virus cases of about 3,500, out of which about 1,680 were in the Kathmandu Valley. The COVID-19 tally has now jumped to over 94,000 and they include more than 25000 active infected cases. Until Wednesday, over 68,500 infected people have recovered while about 580 people have succumbed to the dreaded virus. Of all active infected cases, over 10,000 are placed in the institutional isolation and over 14,000 are in home isolation. At present, over 230 patients are receiving treatment at Intensive Care Units while 37 have been put on ventilator support. So far, over 1.1 million PCR tests have been conducted in the country.
The above figures portray a worrisome picture of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The government authority has not been able to implement the health safety protocols in a rigorous manner even after it lifted prolonged lockdown, prohibitory orders, and allowed the nation to reopen. No sooner than the state reopened, many individuals started squeezing in the streets and marketplaces. These people appear to be negligent of the threats that the infectious virus poses to them. We observe many people visiting places without wearing masks or maintaining physical distancing, let alone using sanitiser. As the people in various places have thrown caution to wind, the COVID-19 spike is but natural. The high infection rate in Kathmandu is because the populated capital city has witnessed many people crowding different places without adhering to the safety protocols. The authority must take firm steps against such behaviour. Without authority adopting methods to counteract the people's waywardness, the infection rate will only rise in the days ahead. And, it will threaten not only the lives of many but also upset the capability of our health centres. The steep rise in infections will also pile up pressures on our authority to find a practical answer to such a complicated situation that we are in now.