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Number of children infected with UK variant increasing, Experts call to follow safety standards



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By Mukunda Gaire, Kathmandu, Apr. 16: The public health experts have expressed their concerns regarding the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal if the health safety measures are not followed strictly.

Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun, chief of the clinical research unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku said that the novel coronavirus infection seen in recent times was more contagious than before.

"The UK variant of the coronavirus has attached children more. If the public health standards are not followed, we might have to face a grave situation in the upcoming days," he said adding that the number of children with COVID-19 admitted to the hospital was increasing daily.

"As the new variants of the virus have been attacking the youths more, it is important to become more alert than before. Children are at high risk of contracting the new strain of the virus. Thus, in this situation, it is not appropriate to run schools and other places having human movements," said Dr. Pun.

He added that people returning from abroad should be placed in quarantine mandatorily and surveillance should be increased on the Nepal-India border. "The only way to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus is to duly follow the public health standards prescribed by the government," Dr. Pun added.

Similarly, Dr. Sarad Onta, a public health specialist, said that the nation would face a huge crisis if health safety measures are not followed in schools. "Schools should be operated by maintaining physical distancing, it should be made mandatory for students to wear masks and odd-even rule could be implemented in classes too," he said.

Dr. Onta added that people being negligent about the virus was the major reason behind an increase in infection rate lately. "The health and safety measures are not seen to be followed anywhere. Thus, a situation of crisis has already arrived in Nepal," he said.

He warned that the nation would have to face the second wave of the pandemic if the public continued to neglect the health and safety protocols. "Also, the political happenings and various official and unofficial programmes might also increase the spread of the virus," he said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has said that the cases of COVID-19 were increasing rapidly in 14 districts across the nation including Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Kaski, Rupandehi, Chitwan, Banke, Parsa, Bhaktapur, Kailali, Morang, Dang, Surkhet, Bara, and Baglung.