For the past one week, the COVID-19 cases have been increasing with 1,921 new cases and 23 deaths on average, on a daily basis.
The Ministry of Health and Population issued a warning about the possibility of a third wave of COVID-19 and a spike in the infection rate after the prohibitory order was relaxed.
According to Ganesh Shreevastav, Health Education Officer and Assistant Information Officer at the MoHP, the crowds in markets and the movement of people have increased the possibility of a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. He said that the third wave is the presumption made by the ministry as the country has witnessed a rise in new cases of late.
“The cases are not declining, also the crowds of people in the market are seen involved in activities without maintaining the health safety protocols,” he said, “This could lead to the third wave of COVID-19.”
The Health Ministry’s Assistant Information Officer said, “The authorities including the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre and the Council of Ministers have already been informed about the possibility of the third wave of COVID-19. It is in their hand whether to intensify the lockdown in order to control the spread of the coronavirus.” “We can only give advice on the situation”, Shreevastav told NepalNews.
While it is not possible to shut down the economy for a long period, it is important that everyone treat the situation with seriousness and ensure safety measures.
Shreevastav also said, it is difficult to point out what exactly is responsible for the recent surge in virus. “Everybody should use mask, sanitiser and maintain physical distancing. Vaccination is the next step,” he said.
With recent reports of huge crowds and no social distancing at vaccination centres, the threat of infection is very real. On what else should be done to ensure vaccination is done in a safe manner, so they are not spreading the infection further, he said, “Those getting vaccinated should also understand the risk of COVID-19 and adopt the health safety measures while staying in a queue at vaccination centres. The authorities cannot be blamed for everything going on.”
The ministry has also requested all health institutions across the country to be prepared with oxygen cylinders, beds, and other healthcare infrastructure that is needed in the treatment of patients infected with COVID-19.
Dr Anup Bastola, Director at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital said that the beds and oxygen supply were being ensured in places where there was no oxygen. Moreover, an oxygen plant is being installed at the hospital. He said the hospital has been engaging all the nurses and staff in proper training for handling incoming patients infected with COVID-19.
Dr Bastola informed that the hospital has plans to expand the 24 beds in the intensive care unit (ICU) to 28. “There is also a plan to facilitate an additional 16 beds with oxygen supply that will be enough unless the cases surge as in the second wave of COVID-19,” he said.
According to him, even now 15-25 patients are being admitted to the hospital on a daily basis. However, there could be problem if the infection rate increased. He expressed his belief that the adoption of health protocols was a must for the prevention of the infection.
Similarly, Bhaktapur Hospital Contact person for COVID-19, Dr Sumitra Gautam said the hospital has other patients who have various problems, some of them in need of getting surgery. She said there were other patients who could not get treatment because of COVID-19. Presently, the number of patients infected with COVID-19 to patients having other problems stands at the ratio of 1:3.
Meanwhile, Bhaktapur Hospital has a 6-bed ICU that has been planned to be enlarged with the addition of 20 other beds where adults, as well as children, could receive treatment. She said others outside the hospital’s capacity could be referred to the Bir Hospital.
Bhaktapur hospital has at present six beds with ventilators and in the near future, ventilators will be installed to 20 to 25 beds.
She expressed her view that the easing of lockdown and people not adhering to safety protocols could be the cause of an increase in new cases.
Likewise, Bir Hospital, Maha Bauddha, contact person for COVID-19, Dr Achyut Karki, said the hospital is adding ICU beds and adequate human resources in preparation to tackle the third wave of COVID-19.
He claimed that the hospital has enough beds for 200 patients at the moment. He said the hospital has been adding 200 extra beds. The hospital has 100 beds facilitated with ventilators Dr Karki said.
Referring to the growing number of daily cases, Dr Karki said that the hospital has recently been seeing 10 to 12 cases daily on an average while eight to nine patients get admitted.
Dr Karki was of the view that we could prevent the third wave of pandemic infection by taking precautions and strictly following the health safety measures.