KATHMANDU, March 25: The COVID-19 infection in neighboring India has intensified in recent days. Its effect might be visible in Nepal within a week, health ministry officials say.
The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) on Wednesday urged the public to remain vigilant. The ministry has indicated that a lockdown could be put in place if the transmission rate continues to rise.
Joint spokesperson at the ministry, Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari has urged the general public to be vigilant saying that there could be a lockdown if the infection rate continues to rise. “If the infection rate is high, a lockdown might be necessary to break the chain of infection. In other cases, regular work should be continued by adopting public health standards,” he said. He also urged everyone to celebrate Holi festival by maintaining social distance.
Due to the increase in infections in India, Nepal has adopted vigilance, said Krishna Prasad Paudel, director at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division. “Some people coming from India have also tested positive. We are trying to control it by testing them at the border,” he said.
Nepal has also seen an increase in the infections as cases continue to rise in India. “We have experience of increasing infection rate following India’s trend. So even now we have to be more careful. Both infections and mortality rate are on the rise in India,” said Dr Archana Shrestha, an infectious disease specialist. She said that Nepal is also at high risk due to the increase in COVID-19 infection in the bordering states of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar of India.
The ministry has urged the elderly and those with chronic diseases to remain vigilant as the COVID-19 pandemic previously affected this group around the world. There is a risk of COVID-19 infection until everyone is fully vaccinated. The ministry has requested the public not to hold meetings, conferences and gatherings and to adhere strictly to health standards. According to statistics, 40 percent of deaths from COVID-19 were patients of high blood pressure, 36 percent of respiratory and other diseases. The ministry has stated that those who have chronic non-communicable diseases were most affected.
It is estimated that COVID-19 affects twice as many people with diabetes. Similar effects are seen in asthma, heart, respiratory, high blood pressure, cancer and other patients. “Patients of chronic diseases and the elderly should be more vigilant as the second wave of COVID-19 is more likely to spread in Nepal as well,” Shrestha told Republica.
The infection was under control in Nepal for the last one and a half months. However, the number of infected reached an average of 150 to 200 per day this week. So far 276,289 people have been infected in the country and 3,020 people have died of the viral disease.