IT is upsetting to note that Nepal has confirmed the first COVID-19 fatality on Saturday amid the diagnosis of more cases of the deadly virus disease. It was followed by second death of a 25 year old male in Banke district on Sunday. The first deceased was a 29-year-old woman from Bahrabise of Sindhupalchowk district. A postpartum mother, she passed away on the way to Dhulikhel Hospital on Saturday. As per the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), she had been admitted to the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) on May 5 for delivery. In a normal delivery, she is reported to have given birth to a male baby on May 6. Since the condition of both the mother and the newborn was quite normal, the hospital discharged them the following day. Until she got to her home in Bahrabise, everything was fine with her.
However, as she started suffering from high fever and respiratory trouble after four-five days, she was admitted to a local hospital at Bahrabise. Because her condition continued to deteriorate, her family decided to take her to Dhulikhel Hospital for the further treatment. The mother of two died in course of the treatment. She was cremated at the electric crematorium at Pashupati Aryaghat on Saturday night. Security personnel were mobilised to bring her body to the crematorium. Meanwhile, the government has sealed various places the deceased was in contact with to contain the spread of the virus. As many as 10 persons, including her family members, have been put into quarantine at Dhulikhel Hospital. However, it is yet to be known how and where she was infected with the virus. Importantly, investigations are underway in this connection. The second victim was a returnee from India and was staying in quarantine.
It is true that the women's death has set an alarm bell for Nepal with many cases being detected in various parts of the country. It needs no mention that the country has been into the lockdown since March 24 to cope with the transmission of COVID-19. The restriction has proved to be helpful for controlling the spread of the virus infection, to a great extent. However, the virus seems to be transmitting fast and it has already affected about 24 districts. As the government has accelerated the process of virus screening over the weeks, many more COVID-19 cases are being detected. This has helped the authorities concerned to isolate those infected with the virus. However, much remains to be done to deal with this pandemic. It is essential for the responsible authorities to intensify the process of tracing and tracking contacts of the infected individuals to curb the spread of the virus.
The lockdown and other restrictions such as physical distancing must be enforced strictly in the virus-hit and other areas at high risk. Despite a fast spread of the virus in Nepal lately, many people are still found least bothered about potential danger. They are often seen violating the lockdown and distancing rules. This type of tendency definitely contributes to the spread of the virus. There is no doubt that the lockdown has not only caused inconveniences to people but also crippled the national economy. However, saving life should be the first preference. When people remain safe and healthy, they will be able to play their roles in reviving the economy.