Kamal Prasad Sharma, Dailekh, June 2: As the infection of the novel coronavirus became widespread in India, he hoped he could survive if he returned home safely. The 35-year old youth of Dullu Municipality-11 did return home safely, but he did not survive! He died from what he strived to avoid, COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel corona virus, SARS-CoV-2.
It had been ten days since he started to stay in the quarantine made at Dullu Municipality-7. When India eased lockdown and railways services resumed there, the youth who had gone to India 14 months ago to earn bread for his family headed for home. And when he arrived at Nepalgunj, the town that borders with India, he was rescued by the Dullu Municipality vehicle as there was no means to reach home due to nationwide lockdown in Nepal. Then he was placed at the quarantine at his home village.
His swab was collected for the test after nine days of his stay in the quarantine. The youth died on Saturday, May 31, a day after his swab was collected for the test and eight hours before his test report came out. It was positive. Karnali Academy of Health Sciences (KAHS) Teaching Hospital, Jumla, confirmed that he tested positive for the virus. Just an hour before he passed away, he was taking tea with others in a happy mood in the quarantine in the hope that his report was coming on the day and that he would go to meet his children.
The youth could not get minimum of treatment and see his families. Crisis and tragedy have blanketed at the same time over the bereaved family, a son, a daughter and wife.
The deceased wife complained that her husband died as he did not get any medicine and treatment while staying in the quarantine. The deceased father said his son died as he was forced to lodge in the cold room without any medicine.
Ghan Shyam Bhandari, Mayor of Dullu Municipality, said that everything was managed on the basis of need for all those who had come from India and were staying in the quarantine. There was a plan to send all home for home based quarantine if their test report came negative. He said the youth fainted all of a sudden and died while under treatment.
Pooja BC, doctor at Dullu Hospital, said her team went to the quarantine spot soon after the information of a patient fainting, but as they reached there, the youth had already passed away.
Poor Management causing death
Many argue that the death of the youth is a glaring example of how the lack of proper management of quarantine location owing to negligence of local level and concerned authorities has victimised those who return home from India and other countries.
Dailekh denizens are worried that infection could create a terrible situation because of the limited quarantine facility which are made by the local levels just for a show. The local levels lack reliable data about the number of people who have gone out of the country for jobs from their respective administrative area.
A terrible situation had already surfaced as 34 persons out of 205 placed in quarantine at Narayan Campus of Narayan Municipality who tested positive for COVID-19 were kept in the same place for over two days.
A tense situation developed on Monday when a team comprised of local representatives, security personnel and local administration officers went to the Narayan Campus for health briefing and those people quarantined there started to rebuke them and even started to flee from the quarantine because they were kept together with the infected persons. The irate people in quarantine were forced to stay there as the police warned them of shooting if they left the quarantine and went home. Now the infected people have been transferred somewhere else.
Sending home without PCR test
People kept in the quarantine of Tribhuvan Higher secondary school at Narayan Municipality-1 of Dailekh have been sent to their homes after conducting their rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for the COVID-19. This act has been justified saying that management of increased number of the infected in the district has been quite problematic with the rise in the number of the infected. The locals have lambasted this. The locals have blamed the local governments for transporting the virus epidemic to the community. Although the Supreme Court has ordered that PCR test should be done of those who are in quarantine before sending them home, local levels have ignored it.
Those who tested positive for virus in RDT are kept in cowshed
Although it is mandatory to perform PCR test of those who test positive for the virus in the RDT and keep them in isolation, it is found they are kept in the cowshed. Four people who tested positive for virus in the RDT were kept at buffalo-shed at Bhairabi Rural Municipality in Dailekh district.
Prem Budha, chair of the Bhairabi RM, said upon learning that the RDT positive were kept in the shed due to transmission fear expressed by the locals, he himself went to the place and helped manage to keep them in the quarantine built for treatment of the infected people.
Local administration keeps mum
With daily increase in the number of people infected with the virus, local administration, which is expected to monitor and seal off when needed the area where high number of infected are, has kept mum. There has been widespread complaint that the lack of proactive step on the part of local administration has increased the threat of transmission of the virus infection into the community.