Ministry matters

Omicron variant is not of great concern: Ministry of Health – myRepublica

KATMANDU, December 25: Nepal has recorded up to 200 to 280 cases per day with at least one death recorded daily. So far, the country has recorded 826,901 cases of COVID-19 and 11,582 deaths from the virus as of Saturday. Likewise, 810,271 people have recovered.

The virus has since mutated several times and sparked fear around the world. The new variant (Omicron) of COVID-19 was detected in Botswana and South Africa in November before traveling to Asia. Nepal registered its first case of Omicron on November 19. The virus was detected in a 66-year-old stranger and a 77-year-old man, who came into contact with him, while the third case of the variant was recorded in December. 22.

Meanwhile, Joint Population Health Ministry (MoHP) spokesperson Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari urged the public not to fear new variants of the coronavirus, including the Omicron variant, and to follow them. security protocols as a duty of every citizen to help prevent the virus from spreading further.

Previously, the Minister of Health and Population Birodh Khatiwada had mentioned the importance of the booster dose to increase the effectiveness of previous injections against COVID-19 and its mutant variants. It was also announced that the government will provide reminders to citizens over the age of 60, who have received two doses of the Vero Cell vaccine made in China. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also recommended the booster dose for the elderly, people with chronic diseases, and people with heart and kidney disease.

Likewise, Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, virologist at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital, informed Republica that the Omicron variant is less virulent than the Delta variant. “Observation results from the spread of the Omicron variant in Europe show that the majority of patients had mild symptoms and were less likely to be admitted to hospital. However, the Omicron variant can still spread like the other variants. Despite testing positive for Omicron, a person is only affected by mild symptoms and it is unlikely that they will be hospitalized or die, ”Dr Pun told Republica.

He further felt that the government should start preparing booster doses for people over 60 with heart and kidney problems. Dr Pun said he has encountered people over the age of 60 who are struggling due to COVID-19 even after receiving both injections of the vaccine. “Several patients have died from COVID-19 related problems even after receiving both doses of the vaccine. They had received their second dose six to seven months before they had any health problems, ”said Dr Pun.

He said the “time has come” to give booster doses to people over the age of sixty with heart and kidney problems. “However, the government should also prioritize vaccinating the whole country first, as the Delta variant remains the cause of death at present and unvaccinated people are still prone to the coronavirus,” he said. said Dr Pun.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Department (DoI) has banned the entry of foreigners and Nepalese citizens from nine countries including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi and Hong Kong, citing the risk of the Omicron variant. . The DoI also published a notice banning the entry of people from 66 countries which was postponed the very next day. The decision was withdrawn and postponed until further notice to reduce the economic and transport problems as well as to do a thorough study before drawing any definitive conclusions, according to the director of the Immigration Department, Jhanka Nath Dhakal.

“Security and health checks in border areas have been stepped up to stop the breach. In accordance with the mandate set by the government, foreigners and Nepalese citizens returning from the nine banned countries will not be allowed to enter the country, ”Dhakal said. “The border has remained open as many Nepalese living near the border areas travel to neighboring India to work as well as to trade. Security will be further enhanced as the rate of infections begins to increase or when deemed necessary, ”he added.