Monday, 30 November, 2020
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EDITORIAL

Govt's New Strategy Against Coronavirus



With continuous surge in the number of COVID-19 infections in Nepal, the Federal Government has come up with a new strategy to rein in the pandemic in a more effective manner. Since Monday (November 9), the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has launched tele-medicine services across the country. The coronavirus patients in home isolation stand to benefit from these services. The MoHP has made public the names and contact details of the tele-medicine focal persons from the eight main hospitals in all the seven states. The list includes 14 doctors from COVID-19 state hub hospitals and central hub hospitals. The ministry has assigned one to two doctors each from the eight hospitals, including Pokhara Academy of Health Sciences, Seti State Hospital, Bharatpur Hospital, Surkhet State Hospital, NAMS, Bir Hospital, Koshi Hospital, Lumbini State Hospital and Janakpur to provide the tele-medicine services to patients.
As per a news report published in this daily on Wednesday, the patients may receive necessary consultation services by connecting with those doctors via SMS, phone calls and emails, among other means. The tele-medicine services may be helpful for those coronavirus patients who are staying in home isolation. More than 80 per cent of the asymptomatic COVID-19 patients have not been admitted to hospitals. They have stayed in home isolation. This has helped in minimising pressure on hospitals. A massive outbreak of this lethal virus disease among frontline health workers has led to a scarcity of health human resources in many labs and hospitals. Even in such adverse situation, the health workers have been serving people with their full dedication which must be praised in due terms.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the Supreme Court order and people's suggestions, the government has reconsidered its earlier decision on the modality of the coronavirus test and treatment. With its new decision, government labs and hospitals will conduct COVID-19 testing and provide treatment to the patients infected with this contagion free of cost. This has created a ray of hope among those who cannot afford to pay for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. As of Tuesday, more than 1.5 million people underwent PCR tests across the country. Of them, nearly 200,000 tested positive for coronavirus. The government has extended coronavirus testing in recent months. At present, a total of 73 laboratories, including private ones, are conducting coronavirus testing throughout the nation. Some 15,000 tests are carried out daily. Anyone willing to get tested on his/her own has to pay Rs. 2,000. As per the MoHP's fresh update, there are 38,035 active cases of COVID-19 nationwide and some 1,058 are staying in quarantine.
Among the active cases, about 29,734 are in home isolation and 404 are undergoing treatment at ICU and 96 are receiving treatment with ventilator support. Considering a possible rise in COVID-19 infections in the country in the upcoming winter, the MoHP has started setting up more Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and ventilators in hospitals. In the worst case scenario, the country may see some 300,000 new infections within the next few months. The MoHP is planning to acquire some 6 million doses of vaccines against the virus for the top priority group in the first phase once the vaccine is available in the global market. People should also remain alert against this disease. They must follow all the health protocols issued by the government.  

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