News Digest (August 20 – August 26, 2020)

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Security

Nepal’s COVID-19 tally reaches 33,533 while death toll climbs up to 164: As of August 25, Nepal’s COVID-19 count stands at 33,533 and death toll is at 164. So far, Province 2 has reported 9,605 cases with 68 deaths, Province 5 with 5,880 cases and 22 deaths, Sudurpaschim Pradesh with 5,657 cases and eight deaths, Bagmati Pradesh with 5,108 cases and 35 deaths, Province 1 with 2,850 cases and 19 deaths, Karnali Pradesh with 2,392 cases and four deaths, and Gandaki Pradesh has reported 2,041 cases with eight deaths.[1] Nineteen thousand one hundred nineteen individuals have made successful recoveries after being diagnosed, and two districts, Mustang and Humla, don’t have any active cases. [2]  

Stigma attached to COVID-19 has made contact tracing difficult for health workers: Health workers say that the stigma associated with COVID-19 has made contact tracing difficult in the valley. According to them, cases of self-misidentification and purposely ignoring phone calls from health officers so that individuals can keep their medical condition hidden are common. The infected fear being alienated if identified due to the stigma attached to the virus. And so, this has become a significant hurdle in contact tracing for health workers.[3] 

Health workers at risk after having to reuse disposable masks: Health workers in private, state-run, and community hospitals, have complained that they are forced to reuse disposable masks due to the shortage of masks. They have also complained about having to reuse other protective gear and equipment as well. The country has already been observing an alarming rise in the infection rate among health workers as health workers across 150 health facilities have tested positive for the virus. “The World Health Organization has said that health workers are at risk on two fronts— shortage of personal protective equipment and the chance of being infected in hospitals”. [4]

Lockdown like restrictions in Kathmandu valley to continue until September 2: Authorities have decided that the restriction imposed on August 19 in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur will be extended until September 2 in an attempt to curb the rapid spread of the virus in the valley. Officials said that the decision was made given the steady surge in the number of cases reported in the valley indicating that the threat of the virus spreading looms large. As of August 25, the valley has reported 3,718 cases with 2,955 in Kathmandu, 462 in Lalitpur, and 301 in Bhaktapur.[5]

COVID-19 tests to be ramped up in the Valley: As a measure to curb the spread of the virus in Kathmandu, the local government has decided to ramp up testing. According to authorities, 28,500 individuals have been identified for testing through contact tracing. They also said that they plan to start testing from August 26 and complete testing all identified individuals within a week. So far, 20 people have succumbed to the virus in the valley.[6]  


[1] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/seven-fatalities-reported-tuesday-nepals-covid-19-death-toll-advances-to-164/

[2] https://kathmandupost.com/health/2020/08/25/nepal-s-covid-19-toll-reaches-164-with-seven-more-deaths-855-new-infections-take-tally-to-33-533

[3] https://kathmandupost.com/valley/2020/08/24/fear-of-stigmatisation-has-hindered-contact-tracing-in-kathmandu

[4] https://kathmandupost.com/health/2020/08/26/health-workers-reusing-disposable-masks-as-hospitals-don-t-supply-enough-doctors-say

[5] https://kathmandupost.com/valley/2020/08/26/covid-19-restrictions-in-valley-to-continue-to-until-september-2

[6] https://kathmandupost.com/valley/2020/08/26/valley-s-municipal-forum-to-ramp-up-coronavirus-tests

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