With a deluge of new COVID-19 cases, govt directs hospitals to admit only serious COVID-19 patients

Published On: August 22, 2020 01:42 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Asymptomatic patients and those having mild symptoms can either stay in home isolation or government-run isolation centers  

KATHMANDU, Aug 22: As hospitals providing treatment are already overwhelmed with the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the government has decided to hospitalize only those COVID-19 patients, who have shown serious health complications.

A cabinet meeting held Thursday decided to direct hospitals across the country to admit only COVID-19 patients showing serious health complications as isolation wards are already overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, leaving hospital authorities with difficult time arranging isolation wards for the patients brought to them with extremely serious health conditions.

Making the cabinet decisions public on Friday, Minister for Information and Communication Technology Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada said that COVID-19 patients – with mild or no symptoms – will not be admitted to hospitals keeping in view the possible shortage of isolation beds for those in severe health conditions.

“The patients – asymptomatic and those with no symptoms – will be sent to isolation centers. They can also stay in home isolation following necessary safety protocols. The Ministry of Health and Population will coordinate with local governments to monitor the condition of patients staying at home isolation,” said Dr Khatiwada, who is also the government’s spokesperson.

“A number of researchers have found that COVID-19 patients have recovered faster at home isolations than in hospital. So, if possible, COVID-19 patients are advised to stay in home isolation informing their respective local government responsible for monitoring home isolations,” Dr Khatiwada further said.

The cabinet meeting on Thursday also decided to bear the treatment cost of COVID-19 patients admitted at private hospitals. After the coronavirus-designated hospitals started getting overwhelmed with the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, the government had earlier directed private hospitals to allocate at least 20% beds for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

While referring to the recent cases of private hospitals denying treatment for the COVID-19 patients, Minister Khatiwada said the government will take necessary action against hospitals denying treatment of COVID-19 patients. “The government has decided to treat symptomatic patients at teaching hospitals, private, cooperative and community hospitals. So, those hospitals denying treatment at the time of global pandemic shall face actions as per the existing laws,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Population on Friday informed that the government has spent more than Rs 3 billion to conduct PCR testings across the country. “So far, the government has tested 579,899 samples, for which at least Rs 3.1 billion has been spent,” said Dr Jageshwar Gautam, spokesperson for MoHP, during a regular virtual press briefing.

The Spokesperson further said that the government spent as much as Rs 104,600 to diagnose a single case of COVID-19 and Rs 450,000 for the treatment of a patient admitted at the ICU ward. “As the treatment for COVID-19 is costly, we [government] request people to strictly follow prohibitory orders issued by the government authorities in different parts of the country,” Gautam added.  

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