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Lockdown is unavoidable, experts warn, because hospitalizations are on the rise

Restrictions are not being enforced, and people who have been vaccinated have become comfortable, despite the fact that the risk of the Delta form, which is prevalent in Nepal, is higher.

A family of a Covid-19-infected patient phoned doctors at Bir Hospital at 8 a.m. on Saturday, asking whether they could find a critical care unit bed with a ventilator. The caller was frantic to find a place for his 57-year-old male relative, whose health was rapidly failing.

Dr. Achyut Raj Karki, the Covid-19 focus person at Bir Hospital, told the Post that doctors at Dhulikhel Hospital said the patient needed ventilator assistance very away. “Other relatives of the sufferer contacted multiple times, appealing for a bed because they couldn’t get one elsewhere. We asked them to bring the patient at 2 p.m. because it was the earliest we could get a bed.”

As the number of new coronavirus infections has increased in recent days, the intensive care units of most hospitals that treat Covid-19 patients have been overburdened.

The number of infected persons hospitalized to Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital has been continuously growing, according to Dr. Anup Bastola, director.

“On average, 20 persons with Covid-19 are admitted to the hospital every day,” Bastola told the Post.

Experts have warned of another shutdown as the number of cases rises.

“As authorities appear unconcerned about public movement, it appears that another prohibitory order or lockdown in the Kathmandu Valley is unavoidable,” public health specialist Dr Binjwala Shrestha told the Post.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Population reported 2,280 new cases of coronavirus infections, with a positive rate of 25% in 9,263 polymerase chain reaction tests. Another 826 infections were discovered in 4,256 antigen tests, yielding a 19% positive rate.

More than one out of every five tests is still positive.

Experts are concerned about insufficient testing and the SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Delta Plus strains, which are blamed for the ongoing outbreak.

“We don’t know the virus’s true infection rate in communities,” Shrestha said.

According to the United Nations, the Delta version is the most severe and transmissible SARS-CoV-2 virus to date.

The variant has been prominent among Nepalese infected.

According to the results of whole-genome sequencing on 47 swab samples of infected people collected between early June and mid-July by the Health Ministry, the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) was found in all of them, with a new sub-lineage of it—K417N, also known as AY.1 and Delta Plus—found in three of them.

The findings of whole-genome sequencing on 48 swab samples of sick persons were also revealed by the Health Ministry in June. The virus’s Delta form was found in 47 people’s swab samples. The sub-lineage Delta Plus was found in nine of the 47 swab samples. The swabs were taken between May 9 and June 3 of this year.

Active cases in the Kathmandu Valley have surpassed 9,000, according to data released by the Ministry of Health and Population. Around 29 percent of the 31,355 current cases in the country are in the Valley.

In the Valley and most of the country, daily life has returned to normal, with prohibitory measures in existence only in name. However, educational institutions, banquet halls, and cinemas remain closed.

Restrictions are disregarded.

A public bus traveling from Balkot to Kalanki was discovered full at Thapathali around 4 p.m. on Friday, despite authorities stating that buses should only transport passengers in half their seats. While calling in passengers, the conductor wore his mask on his chin.

A woman passenger sat next to the driver on the bus was wearing her mask over her chin. The driver, too, was not wearing a mask.

The 55-year-old driver, Hira Kaji Shrestha, claimed, “It’s very hot, and wearing a mask makes breathing uncomfortable.”

People are becoming complacent as the vaccination campaign gains traction.

“I have already had my Chinese vaccine twice from Civil Hospital, and I am confident that the coronavirus would not affect me,” Shrestha stated. “Besides, I’m not convinced the virus exists. There is no longer any virus because everything has been opened.”

However, because the Delta variation is so common, people all around the world are concerned.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta variety is as contagious as chickenpox and more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, and seasonal flu, according to an article published in the New York Times on Friday.

The Center also discovered that the Delta form is more likely to bypass vaccine safeguards, resulting in more severe sickness.

According to studies, the Delta variation of SARS-CoV-2 is 40 to 60 percent more transmissible than Alpha and about twice as transmissible as the original Wuhan strain.

The viral loads in Delta infections were 1,000 times higher than those in infections produced by other variations, according to a Chinese study.

In terms of the severity of the Delta variant’s effects, Dr. Van Kerkhove, a World Health Organization epidemiologist and Covid-19 technical head, has noted an increase in hospitalizations in several of the variant’s afflicted nations. The UN body, on the other hand, hasn’t “yet detected an increase in mortality.”

Nepalese authorities are also concerned.

Officials from the Ministry of Health stated that they had done all possible to notify all relevant agencies and the general public about the increased danger of infection.

Dr. Samir Kumar Adhikari, a joint spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, said, “We have been pleading with the public not to take chances, stressing that the risk of infection is increasing.” “We’ve also notified the relevant agencies to make preparations.”

Several other authorities, he believes, that are responsible for enforcing standards should also take responsibility.

A meeting of the Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre, the major government organization in charge of making decisions to stop the spread of illnesses, took place on Friday, and the topic of establishing a “smart lockdown” was considered.

“We’ve spoken about implementing a smart lockdown that divides districts into four categories: red, amber, yellow, and green. We’re currently attempting to establish lockdowns in a same manner, but there’s no shared understanding,” said Nurhari Khatiwada, a spokesperson for the Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre.

“From now on, we will establish a guideline to ensure that there is no misunderstanding. According to the circumstances of coronavirus infections in the district, the individual District Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre will be able to impose lockdown.”

Experts, however, advise against putting the country on lockdown.

“Lockdown or any other form of limitation should be the very last resort,” Dr Bhagwan Koirala, chairman of the Nepal Medical Council, the country’s primary governing authority for doctors, told the Post.

To reduce the spread of diseases, authorities should expand testing, improve contact tracking, isolate infected persons, and control public movement and crowds, according to Koirala. They could impose some limits in particular locations if necessary.

“As the number of cases rises, authorities should reactivate quarantine and community isolation centers, as well as take other steps, because time is running out,” said Biraj Karmacharya, an epidemiologist who heads the Dhulikhel Hospital’s Department of Community Program.

However, none of these efforts have been effective since the pandemic began more than a year and a half ago.

“An endless restriction is not conceivable, and what I want to stress is that before authorities impose restrictions on our movement, we should observe safety precautions and stay inside if we do not have urgent work,” Koirala continued. “If hospitals become overburdened again, authorities will have to impose stringent lockdowns. Reintroduction of restrictions will be the responsibility of the people as well.”

Source – The Kathmandu Post

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