Epidemiological trend of COVID-19 in Nepal and the importance of social distancing to contain the virus

Keywords: COVID-19, novel coronavirus (nCoV-2), reproduction number, SEIR model

Abstract

There is limited information on the epidemiology and the effects of mitigation measures on the spread of COVID-19 in Nepal. Using publicly available databases, we analyzed the epidemiological trend, the people's movement trends at different intervals across different categories of places and evaluated implications of social mobility on COVID-19. We also estimated the epidemic peak. As of June 9, 2020, Provinces 2 and 5 have most of the cases. People between 15 and 54 years are vulnerable to becoming infected, and more males than females are affected. The cases are growing exponentially. The growth rate of 0.13 and >1 reproduction numbers (R0) over time (median: 1.48; minimum: 0.58, and maximum: 3.71) confirms this trend. The case doubling time is five days. Google's community mobility data suggest that people strictly followed social distancing measures for one month after the lockdown. By around the 4th week of April, the individual's movement started rising, and social contacts increased. The number of cases peaked on May 12, with 83 confirmed cases in one day. The Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Removed (SEIR) model suggests that the epidemic will peak approximately on day 41 (July 21, 2020), and start to plateau after day 80. To contain the spread of the virus, people should maintain social distancing. The Government needs to continue active surveillance, more PCR-based testing, case detection, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. The Government should also provide financial support and safety-nets to the citizen to limit the impact of COVID-19.

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Author Biographies

Amod K. Pokhrel, US-Nepal Policy Research Center, U.S.A.

and Faculty of Science, Health & Technology, Nepal Open University, Lalitpur, Nepal

Yadav P. Joshi, Faculty of Science, Health & Technology, Nepal Open University, Lalitpur, Nepal

and Department of Public Health, Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal

Published
2020-06-30
How to Cite
Pokhrel, A., Joshi, Y., & Bhattarai, S. (2020). Epidemiological trend of COVID-19 in Nepal and the importance of social distancing to contain the virus. Applied Science and Technology Annals, 1(1), 15-25. https://doi.org/10.3126/asta.v1i1.30268
Section
Research Articles