Govt capable of conducting 18,000 PCR tests a day; new strategies to contain COVID-19 spread in Valley: Health minister  (with video)

Published On: August 2, 2020 10:30 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Minister for Health and Population (MoHP) Bhanu Bhakta Acharya

‘People’s indifference to following precautionary measures against COVID-19 poses challenge in controlling infection rate’

KATHMANDU, Aug 2: Minister for Health and Population, Bhanubhakta Dhakal has said that the government is capable of conducting as many as 18,000 real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests a day. 

Stating that tests will be expedited depending upon the situation, Minister Dhakal said that the government has set up the necessary infrastructures for carrying out 18,000 tests a day.

Talking to the News Agency Nepal on Sunday, Dhakal shared that the government has already proceeded with expediting the number of tests to 600,000. “The Prime Minister had earlier said that two percent of the total population would be tested for COVID-19, which, we have understood as 600,000.”

While dismissing the allegations that fewer numbers of COVID-19 infections have been reported owing to the fall in daily PCR tests, Minister Dhakal insisted that the tests have been carried out strictly based on the government-formulated guidelines. 

Talking about the escalating number of coronavirus infections in the Kathmandu Valley in recent days, he said that the government is moving ahead with new strategies in order to curb its further spread. The fresh strategies include placing the Valley entrants at quarantine facilities, reintroducing odd-even rule for vehicles, and increasing the number of PCR tests, according to the minister. He also urged the public to remain on alert as there is a high chance of a pandemic outburst in the Valley if the infection rate keeps soaring at the current rate. 

Minister Dhakal said that the main reason behind the spike in COVID-19 cases in recent days is due to the failure to keep up the rules and standards set by the government against the viral infection. “Public movement has sharply increased and a large number of people are entering the capital from the places which have reported high numbers of infections.” 

According to the minister, the government is all focused on monitoring the districts with higher rates of infections and enforcing district-wise lockdown orders. “The government, at the same time, is prioritizing to ensure the availability of necessary medical equipment in corona-hit zones,” said he, adding that the management of human and other resources is an utmost priority. 

He grumbled that the people are found reluctant in maintaining safety precautions against this pandemic post-lockdown, which, he reckoned, is responsible for the deterioration of the situation. 

Minister Dhakal shared that there is a slim chance of infection due to people coming from abroad as they are placed at the holding centers if they come via the land route and those arriving by air are sent home after a test following their five-day stay in Kathmandu. 

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