The spread of a new type virus, known as coronavirus, in China and elsewhere has become a major cause of concern. The dreadful virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. More than 50 people have already died of the new virus in China as more cases of virus affliction have been reported there. As the death toll from the virus has kept on rising, the Chinese government has taken unprecedented measures with much alacrity to stop the spread of the virus. It has locked down its megacity of Wuhan, where a large number of people have fallen sick due to the highly contagious virus, and a few other cities in order to stop the virus from taking a form of deadly epidemic.
In the meantime, a few persons having afflicted with the deadly virus has also been discovered in many other nations, including Nepal. Our country has become the first South Asian nation with some confirmed cases of the new type coronavirus. So far, two or three cases of affliction from the virus have been reported here and the hospital in Teku, a specialty hospital to communicable diseases, is providing special treatment to the people with the diseases caused by the virus. Though the number of cases is not worrisome at present, it may well take the shape of a dreadful epidemic if adequate preparations are not made in time to tackle the virus challenge. In the recent years, the movement of Chinese people coming to Nepal and the Nepalis going to China have gone up considerably, which has threatened to make Nepal a place where the virus can enter and afflict the people easily.
Such a situation indeed calls for strong measures to be put in place before the virus takes the shape of an epidemic. Besides setting up screening desks at the Tribhuvan International Airport and border entry points along the Nepal-China border, the authority should keep a close vigil on the students and people who have recently returned from China. Moreover, our authority must keep most of our health centres and hospitals on a standby to treat the people having symptoms of virus affliction by keeping them in isolation. More importantly, the Teku hospital and other key health institutions urgently require being equipped with a special test lab to screen the virus at home. The health workers at these centres should be provided with special training and proper logistics and incentives for taking care of the virus patients. Also, the people should be made aware of the ways to protect themselves from catching the virus. As we already have some confirmed cases of the deadly virus, if we don't make adequate preparations to fight the spread of virus, then a disaster of high magnitude is all but awaiting to strike us anytime.