KATHMANDU, April 12: The Ministry of Health and Population has informed that the Kathmandu-based Bir Hospital has started testing of swab samples of COVID-19 suspects from Saturday.
During a regular press briefing, Dr Bikash Devkota, spokesperson for the ministry, informed that Bir Hospital has already started testing the samples, while the Teku Hospital is all set to begin testing from Sunday.
According to the ministry, four samples have been tested through the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method at Bir Hospital, the oldest hospital of Nepal.
With this, the swab samples of COVID-19 patients can be tested in three laboratories in Kathmandu. Earlier, the Teku-based National Public Health Laboratory was the only one equipped to test samples of COVID-19 patients.
Currently, there are 13 laboratories, which are under operation, to test the swab samples of the suspects across the country.
Till Saturday evening, a total of 4417 swab samples have been tested in 13 laboratories across the country.
Meanwhile, the Hetauda-based Vector Borne Disease Research and Training Center has sent three swab samples to Kathmandu for further testing as it couldn't confirm the results independently.
It has been learnt that the three suspects are Indian citizens, who are currently admitted to the Narayani Hospital in Parsa.
“The swab samples of three suspects have been sent to Kathmandu. We are waiting for the results. It is not yet clear if the suspects are infected with the coronavirus or not,” a source at the Ministry of Social Development of Province 3 told Republica.
In the meantime, the ministry claimed that the government is testing around 800 samples a day.
A total of nine COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Nepal, with one patient already recovering from the disease.