स्टोरी

Coronavirus put Indo-Nepal Health Security at stake

Avdhesh Mallick : The outbreak of dreadful zoonotic Novel Coronavirus (nCov) in Hubei province of Wuhan City, China has now started creating global panic. Reports say, 2100 new cases of infection have been detected in China in last 24 hours. Around the world number of infected patients reached 12000. The viral infection has killed 259 innocent people till February 1, 2020.It has now started taking the shape of epidemic. This forced the World Health Organization to enlist 2019-nCoV as Public Health Emergency. However, there is no death recorded outside of China but it emanating threats via Nepal cannot be ignored. But this does not provide any protection cover to neighbouring countries like India and Nepal.


Ill-fated part of the story is that before the installation of scanners at airports completed in India and Nepal, the infected sneaked into the territories of both the countries.

Far away from Wuhan, one positive case of nCov has been detected in Tibet, one in Kerala and one in Kathmandu. Nepal media reports that altogether there are 3 suspicious cases of nCov detected in Nepal out of which one Nepal origin American lady was found positive. She is undergoing treatment.


A patient suspected of coronavirus infection, admitted at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, was discharged from the hospital on January 28. National Public Health Laboratory of Nepal found his test report negative.
It was alleged that the patient was discharged before test report from China was tabled.

Local media and public questioned the action taken by the Hospital Administration. Some media reports also state that National Public Health Laboratory of Nepal lacks facility of detecting the virus. All the sample reports were first sent to China. In getting out reports it took time. Before the report got tabled taking such actions creates suspicion in the minds of common public.

People also complained that Nepal government geared up to screen the suspects only when WHO pulled them.
It reflects how serious the Nepal government is towards the issue. Many people termed the act horrible and quite unprofessional. It has been also speculated that Nepal economy is passing through a tough time. Thus, minimize the expenditure compulsion might have forced Nepal administration to take such unwarranted initiatives.


However, spread of the disease in Nepal will not affect the tiny state but it might have disastrous impact on India, if coronavirus infected patients infiltrate in India and remained undetected for longer period. It will give momentum the contagious virus and may result into epidemic in India especially in bordering states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Sikkim. Major popular transit points identified on Indo Nepal border are Jayanagar, Jatahi, Sunauli, Banbasa, Raxaul, Bairginia, Jogbani, etc.

Visitors from Nepal entering Jaynagar border informed primary health checkup was carried out by medic team. But not everybody was halted for the health checkup.


Even the Indian government is aware of the emanating dangers; it only issued fresh advisory three days ago. Team of doctors has started camping at major transit points at Indo-Nepal border. People complained that except issuing advisories, no special training or equipment, kits, and medicines have been provided to the doctors to diagnose the infected. They are manually inspecting the travellers.


As of now, putting the infected persons in isolation cell is not possible because special quarantine centres have not been constructed in the bordering states. Unfortunate thing associated with the outbreak of nCov is that no vaccine is available to counter it. Anti-novel coronavirus Vaccines are yet to be developed.


As per the administrators, suspected patients will be admitted to district government hospitals. This has created another type of panic in common men. The insecurity in common men even the medics have increased. Public Health Services in both these South Asian countries run with meager resources where mismanagement and corruption falls heavy on the quality of medical facilities. It often results into derailment of health services in government hospitals. Finally, it is the poor public which has to face the consequences. Here in the case, if timely proper intervention is not made, in the long run the viral infection may spread like epidemic. Innumerable innocent lives will be lost due state apathy.


Novel corona virus, SARA and MERS

Novel Coronavirus which first appeared in Wuhan seafood market is very quick in genetic mutation as well as in infection. After infection it causes Pneumonia like symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and difficulty in breathing. In 2 to 14 days, if immunity level of a person is weak person may suffer from fatal Pneumonia and carelessness of treatment often resulted in death of the patient. This viral Pneumonia is contagious and can be transmitted from human to human in the form of influenza virus, or the flu. The rate of widespread infection of coronavirus is faster than that of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012. But fatality rate of novel Coronavirus is less than SARS and MERS.


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