KATHMANDU, April 1: Coronavirus infection was not the cause of this week's three recent deaths at two hospitals in the capital, the government said Tuesday.
Two patients died at Bir Hospital and one died at Patan Hospital this week. All of them had been kept in isolation at the hospitals on suspicion of having contracted COVID-19.
A 40-year-old man had died Sunday while a 35-year-old had breathed his last on Monday afternoon at the Bir Hospital's emergency ward.
The man, who died Sunday, had been referred to the Bir Hospital by the Armed Police Force Hospital after developing high fever and respiratory problems. Another man who had also shown similar symptoms had returned from India.
The hospital had sent samples of both the patients to the state-run National Public Health Laboratory for COVID-19 tests.
The third victim, a 36-year old man from Dhading had died at the Patan Hospital. The COVID-19 suspect was being treated in isolation and was later moved to the ICU, where he died Monday.
“All three cases tested negative for the coronavirus. They were cases related to high fever,” said Dr Bikash Devkota, spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population during a regular press briefing at the ministry on Tuesday.
A few days ago, Baburam Thapa, 34, a UAE returnee migrant worker had died at a temporary hospital set up for treatment of possible COVID-19 cases in Butwal.
Spokesperson Devkota rued the fact that currently patients other than COVID-19 suspects are not getting required medical attention at hospitals.
Medical professional are fully focused on dealing with COVID-19 cases whereas most hospital have stopped providing services to the general public for fear of contracting the virus.
“Fever is a common symptom of most infections, but currently most of the hospitals are afraid to treat patients with fever fearing it might be coronavirus infection,” said Devekota adding, “So patients with other infections are not getting required medical attention and as a result people could lose their lives. I urge hospital not to do so.”
Private hospitals in Nepal are currently in panic due to the pandemic. Some of them have refused to take in any new patients whereas government hospitals are already packed and are unable to taken in new patients. In the meantime medical professional are giving topmost priority to COVID-19 cases, so other patients are not getting required attention.
Till now, Nepal has tested 1060 samples for coronavirus and 87 people were sent to isolation on suspicion of having contracted the virus. Among the total samples tested so far, five came positive for the virus. One person returned home after recovering in January while four persons are still undergoing treatment.
To contain the virus the government has come up with a three-pronged strategy, according to spokesperson Devekota. This includes effective quarantine, expansion of tests and strict enforcement of the lockdown. About 40000 people are currently in quarantine, according to the ministry.
To expand COVID-19 testing the government has set up labs in all seven provincial headquarters. Personal protective equipment, lab experts and medical equipment have been provided to certain hospitals in all provinces, according to Devkota.
Devkota also said that they have nearly completed tracing all the persons contacted by the four COVID-19 patients. “Contact-tracing of two COVID-19 patients has been completed and 80 percent of contract-tracing work is now over,” said the spokesperson.