Kathmandu – The only quarantine centre in Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City has housed 55 people from three different countries. People returned from outside Nepal are quarantined on the premises of Janata Multiple Campus of Ithari-5. ”We have quarantined Nepalese, Indian and Pakistani citizens,” informed Laxmi Gautam deputy mayor of Itahari, adding, ”There are seven Pakistani, 12 Nepali and 36 Indian nationals.

Among them, two are women and one is a minor.” Gautam said Indians were arrived for working purposes while Pakistanis had arrived for Islamic program in different mosques of Itahari. Itahari Sub Metropolis had established 100-bed quarantine on 24 March, the day Nepal started countrywide lockdown. Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT), to determine whether people are COVID-19 infected or not, was started since April 14 in Itahari. ”So far we have tested 48 quarantined people and fortunately all results are negative”, shared Ram Charan Chaudhary, the heath section chief at the sub metropolis. He added, ”We will complete testing remaining 7 today.” Chaudhary said Itahari had already carried out RDT to all 110 migrant workers returned from abroad result of which was also negative.

There is strong security in quarantine centre of Itahari. Nepal Army secures the outer ring. Nepal Police has taken lead for inside section. Four health workers are deployed for quarantine. ”Two Auxiliary Nurse Midwives(ANM), one Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and one Health Assistant (HA) from Itahari Hospital have been assigned at the quarantine,” shared Ram Kumar Dhamala, the chief of the emergency department of the only government-owned hospital in the town of around 200 thousand population.

People housed in quarantine are served tea and beans in the morning, lunch before noon, snacks in afternoon and dinner at night, shared Chaudhary. Demand for government-owned hospital on rise in social media On a different note, denizens of Itahari have intensified social media campaign to establish a 100-bed hospital with 10-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) along with all facilities of X-ray, CT scan, MRI, pathology lab, among others. Campaigners have pointed the dearth of required hospital in Itahari.

They have used social hashtag of govthospitalforitahari in Facebook and twitter to make local government heard about the cause. Hundreds of locals have thrown their weight behind this campaign. ”We have a military hospital with just 50 beds and this is only for military families. The only hospital for public Itahari Hospital is of just 15-bed capacity”, said Sandip Poudel, one of the leader of the campaigner. He added,

”If COVID-19 pandemic breaks out in the town, we will have no option in this heavily under-resourced health facilities of our town.” Raju KC, another leader to the fresh campaign, said it was mandatory to have at least 200-bed hospital to be a sub metropolis. ”It has been almost three years since the arrival of local government and still we don’t have mandatory hospital despite election pledges by our representatives”, said KC. He added, ”This is the right time to make an adequate hospital both for potential crisis management and to fulfil legal as well as election promises.”


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