KATHMANDU, March 21: In a bid to prevent a possible outbreak of COVID-19, the government on Friday directed hospitals with 50 or more beds inside the Kathmandu Valley to suspend non-urgent health checkups and surgeries till April 12.
Though only one COVID-19 suspect has been tested positive and cured in the country so far, the Ministry for Health and Population directed the hospitals with 50 beds or more to only deal with emergency cases and emergency surgeries.
“The ministry took the decision amid a possible spread of the coronavirus,” Bikash Devkota, spokesperson for the ministry, told Republica.
Likewise, the ministry has also directed hospitals with capacity of more than 100 beds to run fever clinic to test the suspected cases of the coronavirus effectively.
As per the directive, hospitals should keep the suspected cases in isolation without referring them to other hospitals. If the test result comes positive, the patient should be sent to the hospitals – recommended by the government – while ensuring that the virus doesn’t spread in the public.
Likewise, the government has also directed Bir Hospital, Dhulikhel Hospital, and Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences to conduct coronavirus tests. The National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) will provide coronavirus testing kits to those hospitals.
As some COVID-19 patients need to undergo dialysis, the government has directed Bir Hospital to provide necessary human resource and one dialysis machine to Shukraraaj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital at the earliest.
As family members of infected persons could pressurize the hospital administration allow them to meet the patients even in the isolation ward, the government is arranging tight security at hospitals.
Likewise, the hospitals in the valley have also been directed to designate one person for pathology services. Only that person would be responsible for collecting test samples from suspected cases for the lab.
The government has also said that the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHC) is on the stand-by and currently has 20,000 COVID-19 test kits.