KATHMANDU, March 26: Although a COVID-19 suspect tested positive for the virus on Tuesday evening, doctors at Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH) at Teku were not informed about this, putting the lives of the medical staff involved at risk.
"A swab sample from a 32-year-old migrant worker tested positive for the COVID-19 Tuesday, but we [doctors] learnt about this only from online news platform, " a doctor at the hospital told Republica on condition of anonymity.
The man who returned from the UAE by Air Arabia flight G-9537 tested positive for the virus at the government-run National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL).
Doctors said the hospital administration didn't inform them about the positive test.
“We [doctors] are working round the clock so that the virus doesn't spread. But why weren't we informed about this test result?” questioned one doctor, warning the hospital administration that doctors might not want to risk their own lives if such incidents happen again.
“Medics follow precautionary measures at the isolation ward. But when test results are slow to come out, we [medics] assume the patients tested negative,” said the doctor.
The migrant worker who tested positive is a permanent resident of Dhading district. He landed at Tribhuvan International Airport on March 19, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.
This is the third case of the novel coronavirus in Nepal. A few days ago, a 19-year-old Nepali student who returned from France tested positive. Likewise, on January 24, a Nepali who returned from China's Wuhan city, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, tested positive for the virus. He returned home after making a recovery a few days later.According to the ministry, the migrant worker back from the UAE had stayed at a hotel in Kathmandu before going to the hospital for a checkup after showing some coronavirus-like symptoms. “The government is seeking out the hotel staff and also the taxi driver who dropped the man off at the hotel. The patient visited the hospital after showing some symptoms,” said Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, minister for health and population, adding that the government is also seeking out the other passengers who were on the same flight from the UAE.
Those who came in contact with the patient will be sent to quarantine.
Meanwhile, the number of people coming to the Teku hospital have increased significantly in the last few days. Before the second confirmed case of COVID-19, some 25 people a day used to come to the hospital on average. Currently, this number stands at more than 60.
So far, NPHL has tested 687 samples, of which three were positive for the virus.