Nepali government on Friday reported the largest single day spike in COVID-19 cases as the total cases crossed 5,000 in the Himalayan country.
The Nepali government also reported one new death from the COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 16.
“With 448 new cases reported on Friday, the total count of COVID-19 cases in Nepal reached 5062,” Jageshwor Gautam, spokesperson at the Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population said in a regular press briefing on Friday.
The Himalayan country saw surge in cases two days after the Nepali government decided to reopen most of the economic activities, 79 days after the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24. Nepal’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday had decided to relax the lockdown amid the growing pressure from stakeholders due to the impact on the livelihood of tens of thousands of people.
Meanwhile, Gautam also confirmed a new death, 57-year-old man from south-western Arghakhanchi district.
The man, who came home from Maharastra state of India 12 days ago, was housed in a local quarantine center in the district. He was admitted to Lumbini Provincial Hospital, a local hospital after encountering respiratory problems at the quarantine center.
As he was being taken back to the quarantine center after receiving treatment at hospital, he died on the way on Wednesday, said Gautam. After the death, his swab was collected and tested positive for the virus, who is the 16th death from COVID-19 in Nepal.
In the recent days, the Himalayan country has been seeing a rapid rise in both infections and deaths. Most of those who have been infected with the virus are returnees from India.
Despite rise in COVID-19 cases, Nepal has reopened most of the economic sectors.
After the relaxation of lockdown, the Ministry of Health and Population has issued a guideline ‘Standard on Public Health during the Managed Lockdown’ with provisions of social behaviors that citizens to need to follow to prevent the spread of pandemic in the country.
The standard has incorporated provisions such as maintaining social distance by at least two meters, wearing masks in crowd and washing hands with soaps properly or using sanitizers. Gautam urged the Nepali people to strictly the follow the standards saying that the change in behaviour should be new normal.
Nepali public health experts also insist that social distancing policy should be effectively enforced after the relaxation of lockdown.
“The government should make the provision of strong monitoring mechanisms to ensure that social distance is maintained and necessary precautionary measures are taken by the citizens,” Baburam Marasini, former director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Department of Health Services, told Xinhua on Thursday.