Bajura locals have expressed their concern about the increasing risk of contracting COVID-19 from infected persons moving around freely in their locality.

In Badimalika Municipality alone, 40 COVID-19 positive cases have been reported and 32 among them were sent home from quarantine center before their test reports arrived.

Despite their results coming coronavirus positive, they have been moving out and about defying the authorities’ advice to stay in home quarantine. Authorities concerned, however, appear to be unbothered about the same.

“We have 14 coronavirus cases in our village. Those infected share the same latrine at their homes with their family members and use the single village tap. They are also moving around in the village freely. We’re really scared they could transmit the virus in the community,” said Samin Saud, a local of Mana, Badimalika Municipality.

Former chairperson of Federation of Nepali Journalists, Bajura chapter, Madan Rajaishi claimed the infection had spread in the community. “We cannot confirm community transmission yet simply because there hasn’t been any testing, even of persons who have come in contact with the infected.”

Regarding the municipality’s decision to send the infected persons home without awaiting their test results, Badimalika Municipality Mayor Padam Baduwal argued they were sent home on the condition that they stay in home quarantine.

“Their reports didn’t come even after two weeks, so we had to send them home as they badly wanted to go home and didn’t show any symptom by that time. But they were told to stay in home quarantine,” said the mayor.

Public Health Office Bajura Chief, Dayakrishna Panta said, “The decision to send people who have spent two weeks in quarantine is in line with the government criteria,” he said.

In other areas of the district, 19 persons tested positive in Dhuralsain Secondary School-based quarantine shelter in Budhiganga Municipality. Once the test results were out days after their swabs were collected, around 107 persons, who tested negative, were sent home.

Those who had stayed in the same quarantine center with the 19 positive cases and returned their village have caused fear among the villagers.

“They were sent home after they tested negative in the swab samples that were collected 11 days ago, but what about the possibility of them contracting the virus in the 11-day period after their swab samples were collected,” asked a local, adding that the infection might have already spread in the locality.