Dr. Jos Vandelaer, WHO Representative in Nepal, expressed his high concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in recent days. In his interview with Gorkhapatara, a semi-government daily, he said that his organization has maintained from the very beginning that there is limited community spread but no widespread community transmission in Nepal.
He said that there is indeed a cluster of case in Birgunj. However, this cluster is due to a local transmission chain, and may not become widespread community transmission if proper steps are taken. “If appropriate steps are taken in Province-2, then this local cluster may be controlled and not lead to widespread community transmission.”
In his interview to daily, he said that Gandaki and Bagmati are showing sporadic cases, while the remaining five provinces are showing clusters of cases. “Nepal has not yet entered the stage of widespread community transmission, although some degree of person to person spread in the community is inevitably present even in phase of sporadic transmission.”
He said that the case load in Bagmati province is one of the lowest and cumulative incidence rate is also the lowest in the country. “Again, this does not mean that there is no person to person transmission in the community. There is, but it has not yet become widespread.”
“All across the country and in Bagmati province, the daily cases are not increasing exponentially, the 7-day average is flattening out. These are all good signs but there is absolutely no room for complacency. This may be the lull before the storm, and Nepal must be prepared for the worst.”
“HEOC report shows a total for Nepal of 44 deaths for 18,374 cases, which means a case fatality rate of 0.24 % (44/18374 *100). The global average is 4.1%. Hence, Nepal is much lower than the global average. The main reason is that almost all cases in Nepal are among migrant workers, who are young. As you know, most deaths occur in older age groups, especially if there are underlying conditions. Because in Nepal few older people have been infected, the death rate is low.”