The second wave of the coronavirus has begun to swallow our health systems. Hospitals and health workers in cities like Nepalgunj have been pleading with the government to provide them with the necessary resources to treat the patients. Major hospitals, both public and private, in Kathmandu have said that they have run out of beds and other resources to treat additional COVID-19 patients. Dr Sagar Kumar Rajbhandari, director of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH), said that hospitals will soon be on the brink of collapse if we do not act now. We have seen Prime Minister Oli violating public health protocols set by the health ministry.
These are difficult times. And it is time for the authorities to make an uncomfortable decision. Senior officials at the health ministry and doctors have publicly stated that a lockdown in areas with high infection rate is the only way to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.
As the people wait for the decisions by the Chief District Officers (CDOs) of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, and the Cabinet, we also urge the government to expedite processes to purchase, assemble and ready resources like Oxygen, hospital beds and health workers. What we are seeing in Delhi and in other parts of India should not be repeated here in Nepal. Let the COVID situation in India be a warning to those sitting in Singha Durbar and in other positions of power. It will be too late if we do not act now.
Despite urgent calls by the health ministry, those in decision-making positions have not heeded to calls for drastic measures. The Oli-led government is fighting for its life. Whispers of no confidence motion have rattled PM Oli and his close associates. And urgent actions to tame the spread of COVID-19 did not feature in the current government’s priorities. A total of 795 people between ages 20-29 have been infected, followed by 677 of ages 30-39. These are alarming numbers. Morang, Parsa, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Kaski, Dang, Banke and Rupandehi each have more than 500 cases. A total of 3,032 people have tested positive in the last 24 hours. These are sobering numbers.
The much dreaded health crisis is here. We must work as one nation to defeat the virus. We also urge the political parties to set aside their political differences in this hour of health emergencies. This is not the time for political bickering. They will have other days to fight their political battle. The people’s health is of the topmost priority for now.