Covid-19, a new surge
Nepal is experiencing a new surge of Covid-19. More than 8,500 new cases were confirmed in the country in the past 24 hours. And 58 deaths. Most health institutions are ill-equipped to handle the swelling number of coronavirus patients for a lack of supplementary oxygen and ICU beds.
In the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, in Teku, a woman is lying on a bed, outside, in front of the Emergency service. “We are here since yesterday 2pm explains his son Sangam, a 27 years old guy living in Chandragiri. My mother experienced Covid symptoms two days ago and showed difficulty breathing early yesterday. I spent all morning calling several public hospitals but none accepted to admit my mother, telling me they have no oxygen anymore. I also called a private clinic but they asked me to pay Rs 15,000 per day (110 €) ! How can I afford this ? Finally I got admission here. But we have to wait for my mother to get a test, at 9am. So, since yesterday afternoon, we have spent all this time here, outside. »
Kathmandu Valley mostly records the exponential rise in the number of cases and was put in lockdown last week. But this second wave of the pandemic concerns the whole country, notably all the districts at the Indian border. And as in India, as the number of deaths due to Covid-19 is increasing, the crematoria are starting to saturate.
The riverbank ghats of Pashupatinath, along the Bagmati river, are the auspicious crematorium of many who die in Kathmandu. The bodies are burnt on funeral pyres and their ashes are buried. But not if you die due to Covid-19. To avoid the risk of infection, the bodies are brought to the electric crematorium a little further and the Nepal army is in charge of this.
Families can't touch the body of their relative and they are not allowed to place the orange marigold wreath and other offerings on it. A portal maintains the distance and opens only to let through the flow of ambulances and funeral cars. “My father died this morning, says Binda. He was 61 and in very good shape. He had been coughing and had a fever for a few days. As he was showing symptoms, he had a test three days ago. Positive. He only spent one day in the hospital, it was already too late ... ".
Even if the electric crematorium operates 24 hours, it can't cremate all the deaths brought in every day. The army has begun using makeshift pyres on the bank of the Bagmati in the Pashupati area.
But in a separate area...