Sunday, 11 April, 2021

Time To Stay Alert On COVID-19 Resurgence

On Monday, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) confirmed 266 new cases of COVID-19 in Nepal, taking the nation’s coronavirus tally to 278,210. Of the new infections, seven were reported in Province 1, five in Province two, 201 in Bagmati Province, 24 each in Gandaki and Lumbini Provinces and five in Sudurpaschim Province. We see the highest number of cases has been detected in Bagmati Province where the capital is located. It seems that the Kathmandu Valley is going to be the hotspot of the pandemic as it is a melting pot of the people coming from all directions. For months, daily cases of the virus were limited below 100. The daily caseload crossed the 200-mark for the country and the 100-mark for the Kathmandu Valley since January.

The latest surge in virus infections calls for stringent precautionary measures on the part of authorities and the individual citizens to make sure that the cases do not spiral out of control. Considering the rapid increase in the number of infections in the capital valley, the government has made antigen testing mandatory for those entering the valley with symptoms of coronavirus. The Kathmandu District COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre has decided to establish health desks for antigen tests at all municipalities where the entry points to the valley are located. Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts of the valley are also following the similar measures.

Though the situation is still under control as of now, the record rise in COVID-19 infections in neighbouring India has emerged as a cause of concern because moving in of people from the other side of the border can cause a rise in infections. On Monday, the southern neighbor reported a record rise in COVID-19 infections, having the second largest number of cases after the US in a single day. As the two neighbouring countries share more than 1,750 kilometers of open and reregulated border, the government should apply all strict measures to stop the transmission of infections through the border. No doubt, the unabated cross-border movement in the recent weeks has caused the rise in the number of COVID-19 infections in the country.

Addressing the House of Representatives meeting on Monday, Minister for Health and Population Hridayesh Tripathi alerted that the rate of COVID-19 infections might reach its peak in the country in May and June. Minister Tripathi said that if the nation failed to effectively implement and follow the public health protocols, cases of the coronavirus infection might increase significantly from the next month. This statement of the Minister should be taken seriously by all. He said that the government was preparing by all means to curb the spread of the virus, without putting in place the lockdown order, if possible.

Earlier, India had provided 1,000,000 doses of Covishield vaccines produced by the Serum Institute in India. Later, Nepal bought the same number of vaccine from the southern neighbor, half of which remains to be delivered. About 1.6 million Nepalis have already been vaccinated with the first dose of Covishield. Nepal’s northern neighbour China has also provided 800,000 doses of vaccine against COVID-19 under its grant assistance. The government has already announced its plan to resume the vaccination drive by administering Chinese vaccines from Wednesday. Similarly, the government has also claimed that it would vaccinate 6 million people by September. If vaccination plans go ahead as planned, people will be glad to remain immune and confident about the coronavirus risks which enables the nation to fight a winning battle against the pandemic.