By Ishwar Chandra Jha, Kathmandu, Aug. 8: The COVID-19 caseload of Nepal is way lesser than what the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) had predicted.
According to 'Epi modeling' (Epidemic Prediction) introduced by the health ministry, the ministry, a few weeks ago, had forecasted that Nepal would record either massive or medium upsurge in cases of COVID-19.
The ministry had predicted that the active cases of COVID-19 would reach 91,000 by August 9, if the increase rate reaches its peak. But as of now, only 6,630 active cases have been recorded.
The MoHP has forecasted that the number of active cases would reach 39,000 by August 18, if the increase rate is medium.
"If we compare both the cases of increase in COVID-19 cases, Nepal is at a satisfactory place," said Dr. Jageshwor Gautam, Spokesperson of the MoHP. "The infection rate is limited until now due to the collective effort of the citizens, frontline workers and due to the adoption of the preventive measures."
In the last 10 days, Nepal has recorded around 3,500 cases of COVID-19 and the national tally is at 22,214. The number of active cases is 6,630.
The death toll however has been increasing of late.
Team of 1,075 people to detect COVID-19 cases
A team of 1,075 doctors and health workers have been mobilised across the nation to detected cases of COVID-19. According to the health ministry, one team in each Rural Municipality, two in each municipality, three in Sub-Metropolitan Cities and five in Metropolitan Cities have been deployed to trace those who might have come in direct contact with COVID-19 patients. The team is also actively working across the nation to place suspected SARS-CoV-2 infected in quarantine and conduct their PCR test.
Each team comprises of three health workers, said the ministry.
PPEs enough for two months
The health ministry has readied Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and health infrastructures for the safety of frontline health workers.
Medicines and Intensive Care Unit's (ICU) essentials to cure 1,500 serious virus patients are standby. The PPEs and lab equipment required while taking care of the virus patients are enough for two months. The ministry further said that the procurement procedure was underway to purchase additional equipment.
The ministry has already implemented guidelines for home isolation and home quarantine. Until now, the ministry has introduced 41 documents and directives relating to COVID-19 response. It has also set expense standards for private hospital and the daily COVID-19 testing capacity has been increased to 22,000.
Ventilators and ICUs
According to spokesperson Dr. Gautam, 2,600 ICUs and 900 ventilators were available in Nepal at the moment. "Work plan from the Month of Asar to Ashoj to use the ICUs and ventilators have been set by the ministry," he said.
In the previous months, 200 ICUs and ventilators were available for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The ministry is working to add 240 more ICUs and ventilators.
Currently, 66 virus patients across the nation are receiving treatment in ICU and ventilator.
Isolation beds being increased
On a daily basis, the cases of COVID-19 have been increasing by around 500. Two months earlier, the ministry had allotted budget to ready 7,000 beds each in all seven States.
Dr. Gautam said that the budget was allotted to set up isolation beds in places other than hospitals.
The Ministry is set to deploy specialists from 20 teaching hospitals in 25 hubs, in case of any emergency situation in the days to come. The team will be mobilised on the basis of the necessity.
Currently, Kathmandu Valley and State 2 are being affected by the pandemic. Of the 70 COVID-19 death cases until now, 30 were recorded in State 2 itself. There are 2,839 active cases of virus infection in State 2.
There are 943 active cases in Bagmati State, while Kathmandu has already crossed 500's mark.