Roundup: Nepal's severe COVID-19 cases remain high despite daily infections drop

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 28, 2020
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KATHMANDU, Nov. 28 (Xinhua ) -- Nepal has recently seen a decline in daily new cases of COVID-19 while the number of severe cases remained high, causing a strain on intensive care unit (ICU) beds in hospitals.

For example, the ICU beds at the Kathmandu-based Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital have long been fully occupied.

"We have 22 ICU beds in the hospital and all have continuously remained occupied for months," hospital director Sagar Kumar Rajbhandari told Xinhua earlier this week. "It is due to continuous rise in number of serious cases."

In recent weeks, the Nepali government reported less daily cases of COVID-19 than in last month. In October, the Himalayan country reported a record daily spike of 5,743 cases.

In last week, the daily rise in cases reduced to below 2,000. On Saturday, the Nepali government reported 1,380 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally to 230,723.

However, the number of severe cases admitted to hospitals has not dropped, according to Kathmandu-based hospitals.

Another public hospital, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, has also continued to see its ICU beds fully used.

"We have 15 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients and they have continued to remain occupied for long," Santa Kumar Das, chief of COVID-19 Management Committee at the hospital said early this week.

The hospital has therefore rejected several requests from other hospitals for admission of serious coronavirus cases, he said.

He said that the serious cases were mostly found in people who suffered diseases related to kidney and liver problems.

According to Nepal's health ministry, there are 354 coronavirus patients being treated in the ICUs nationwide as of Friday, with 54 of them relying on the support of ventilators.

On Saturday, it reported 19 more deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last four days, there were additional 93 deaths in total.

"We are seeing increased number of severe cases," Roshan Pokharel, chief specialist at the health ministry, said Friday.

Health officials also noted that while the ICU beds in hospitals have remained packed, a large number of normal hospital beds allocated for COVID-19 patients have been vacant recently due to the reduced number of new cases.

"Around 50 percent normal hospitals beds in Kathmandu have remained vacant lately," health ministry spokesperson Jageshwor Gautam told Xinhua.

However, experts said the lower figures did not necessarily mean that the COVID-19 situation was improving a lot.

"It may be due to people getting them tested for coronavirus only after the patient develops symptoms," said Pokharel. "Lately, there has not been random testing of people based on risk analysis." Enditem

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