Ruksebhanjyang Bazaar in Ward 4 of Nisdi Rural Municipality was sealed until June 12 after the region reported an increase in Covid-19 infections.
According to Rem Bahadur Magar, head of the health unit of the rural commune, out of 39 individuals who underwent antigen tests a few days ago, 21 have tested positive for Covid-19.
“We didn’t expect such a high positivity rate. The results indicate that Covid-19 cases are increasing in rural areas, ”Magar said. “The health unit recently performed antigen tests on 76 people in Ruksebhanjyang and found 26 people infected with Covid-19. “
Ruksebhanjyang currently has 47 active cases of Covid-19.
“All Covid-19 patients are in quarantine at Gaurishankar High School. The rural municipality provides food and shelter for patients. However, there are no health workers available at the quarantine center to treat patients, ”Magar told the Post.
Movement of people around the bazaar area has been restricted to prevent the spread of the virus, according to Neu Bahadur Sunari, president of Ward 4 of Nisdi Rural Municipality.
“The Ruksebhanjyang Bazaar was sealed to control the spread of the virus after a large number of individuals from the same colony tested positive,” Sunsari said.
Khasyeuli Harthok, another bazaar area in Ward 3 of Ribdikot Rural Municipality, was also sealed for the last 15 days. The rural bazaar area, which adjoins the section of the Palpa-Gulmi road, is also heavily affected by Covid-19.
“We recently performed PCR tests on 39 people. Eighteen people have tested positive for Covid-19. There are 25 families living in the bazaar area and they are all at risk of contracting the virus, ”said Sunil Adhikari, head of the rural municipality’s health section.
In Itiya Tol, in Ward No.8 of Rainadevi Chhahara Rural Municipality, a large number of people were found suffering from colds, coughs, fever and other Covid-19-like symptoms during the week. last. The rural commune health unit carried out antigen tests on 49 people; 11 have tested positive for Covid-19.
“The health unit performed tests on those who showed symptoms related to the coronavirus,” said Jeevan Rana, unit chief at the rural municipality. “We learned of the case after a migrant worker who had recently arrived in Itiya Tol from India tested positive for Covid-19 at a health facility based in Butwal. “
According to Om Prakash Panthi, information officer at the Palpa district health office, Covid-19 infections are on the decline in urban areas but rural areas like Rainadevi Chhahara are still at risk.
“Local units have not been able to expand Covid-19 testing,” Panthi said.
Although district authorities have put in place banning orders to curb the spread of the virus, they have failed to stem population movements in rural areas.
“The prohibition orders have not been effective in curbing the movement of people in rural areas. You can find people wandering in shops and public places without masks or keeping a distance, ”said Narayan Chaudhary, a resident of Kohalpur.
Also in Banke, many people are suffering from fever, headaches and other symptoms similar to Covid-19 in rural areas of the district. But local authorities have not launched mass tests.
“There are a lot of fever patients in my village. But they haven’t been tested yet, ”said Hemanta Chaudhary, a resident of Rapti Sonari.
Naresh Shrestha, the public health inspector at Banke, said antigen testing is only done on those who come to a health facility to be tested.
“But since few patients with Covid-19-like symptoms go to healthcare facilities to be tested, we have provided antigen kits to local Banke units to speed up testing,” Shrestha said.
Health officials say the rate of Covid-19 infection has increased in rural areas of Lumbini province. Eighty-eight infected people receive treatment at Bheri Hospital in Nepalgunj.
Dr Sanket Risal, chief medical officer at the hospital, says the risk of Covid-19 is still high in rural areas. “A mass test should be done to contain the virus,” he said.
In Kapilvastu, the infection rate is higher in rural areas than in urban centers.
Umesh Ghimire, the focal person for Covid-19 control at the district health office, said: “The infection rate is around 10-15% in urban areas while it is 35-40% in rural areas.
One of the factors contributing to the low testing rate in rural areas is the reluctance of local people to get tested for fear of social stigma, Ghimire said.
“Villagers fear being ostracized by members of their community in rural areas. They refuse to be tested unless their health deteriorates, ”said Birendra Mishra, coordinator of the Yashodhara Rural Municipality health unit.
The situation in Maharajgunj, another local unit in Kapilvastu, is also the same. Only 27 people have undergone antigen testing in the municipality in the past month.
“We have set up antigen screening centers in 11 places in the town. But even symptomatic people refuse to be tested, ”said health unit coordinator Radheshyam Jayaswal.
In Dang, the virus is gradually spreading in rural towns but villagers rely on homeopathic medicines to treat Covid-19 suspects.
“There is total neglect on the part of the rural villagers. Villagers don’t go to health posts even when they get sick, ”said Numananda Subedi, president of Rapti Rural Municipality.
Most of the villagers are currently busy in their fields for harvesting corn and other crops and in cultivating land for planting rice.
“Fever patients are increasing in the villages but almost everyone is working in the fields,” said Bhuwaneshwor Paudel, chairman of Babai Rural Municipality in Dang. “Almost every household has a patient with coronavirus-like symptoms, but they refuse to go to health facilities for testing and treatment. “
Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 patients is dropping in Rupandehi, a virus hotspot during the second wave of the pandemic. The flow of patients to various health facilities designated for the coronavirus has slowed in recent days in the district.
Dr Rajendra Giri, head of the district health office, said the number of Covid-19 cases is declining due to the ban orders in place and a good patient recovery rate. According to him, 147 people tested positive for the coronavirus in Rupandehi on June 3 but only 65 people tested positive on June 8. The district currently has 1,062 active cases.
“The infection rate is dropping in Rupandehi. Only 71 Covid-19 patients are currently receiving treatment – eight on ventilators and 24 in intensive care – at six different hospitals in the district, ”said Asman Tamang, the district chief of Rupandehi. According to him, health officials carry out daily antigen tests on more than 4,000 people in the community.
Thakur Singh Tharu in Nepalgunj, Durgalal KC in Dang, Manoj Paudel in Kapilvastu and Sanju Paudel in Rupandehi contributed reporting.