Govt preparing to conduct rapid mass testing in three districts

Published On: April 6, 2020 04:25 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 6: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) is preparing to conduct rapid mass testing for Covid-19 in three districts – Kailali, Kanchanpur and Baglung.

Following a direction from a cabinet meeting on Saturday, the ministry has sent health officials to the three districts to conduct rapid mass testing of Covid-19 suspects.

Likewise, the government has also decided to conduct rapid mass testing of all the individuals who have returned to Nepal from abroad after mid-March. Also, all the individuals, who have come into the contact of those passengers, will be tested, according to the MoHP.

“All individuals in quarantine facilities in three districts will be tested,” said Dr Bikash Devkota, spokesperson for the MoHP, adding that several communities of these districts will witness rapid testing from tomorrow [Monday].

During a regular press meet, Devkota also said that the ministry has sent medics to all these districts in proper consultation with the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division and Nepal Health Research Council.

“As Nepal has already entered the second phase of Covid-19, the only option to contain the outbreak is by staying home,” he said, requesting all citizens coming from other countries to stay in home quarantine.

Likewise, the ministry also informed that the family members of the three patients, who tested positive on Saturday, have been sent to quarantine facilities.

The swab samples which come positive from rapid testing will again be tested through the PCR method to confirm if the suspect is a COVID-19 patient.

On Sunday, Minister for Communications and Information Technology Yuba Raj Khatiwada said that the government will protect medics, who are involved in the treatment of Covid-19 suspects.

In the meantime, the ministry also informed the media that a total of 1,529 swab samples have been tested at the National Public Health Laboratory so far. “The government has already expanded testing facilities in seven places outside the Kathmandu Valley to increase the number of tests,” he said.

However, the government-run NPHL has the capacity to test only 4,000 swab samples in a week.

Until Saturday evening, the ministry has confirmed eight active cases. Likewise, there are a total of 113 individuals in isolation wards across the country.

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