KATHMANDU, Dec 23: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has urged the public to be cautious and abide by health safety protocols as the risk of new variants of the coronavirus is increasing in the neighboring countries.
The MoHP in a statement on Thursday urged all people to be aware of the recent situation of COVID-19 infection in the neighboring countries. As new variants of the infection are confirmed and spreading in some countries including China, the health ministry said it is working to increase surveillance and coordinate with other countries to contain the further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 cases in China have been rapidly increasing in various major cities in recent weeks as the virus sweeps through China largely unchecked. British news agency Reuters reported on Thursday that a Shanghai hospital has told its staff to prepare for a "tragic battle" with COVID-19 as it expects half of the city's 25 million people will get infected by the end of next week.
The Indian government also held a high-level review meeting amid the latest COVID-19 alert in India on Thursday. Delhi government has already announced to close schools between January 1 and January 15 due to winter and Covid scare, according to Indian media reports.
According to the MoHP, a gene sequencing of samples collected from different places in the country in the last one month was conducted recently. The results obtained from the National Public Health Laboratory have confirmed omicron variants of COVID-19 among 48 people The omicron variants include BA.2, BA.2.75, BA.2.75.1, BA. 2.75.2, BA.2.75.3, BA. 2.75.5, BA.2.75.6, BA.2.76, BA.5.2, BA.5.2.1, BM. 1, BM. 1.1.3, BN. 1.3, BQ. 1.1, BG 1.2, BY. 1, and XBB.
While the B.F. has been confirmed recently in neighboring countries, seven of these variants have not been confirmed in Nepal so far. Keeping in view of the latest findings, the MoHP has requested everyone to use masks, maintain physical distance from each other and pay special attention to washing hands.
Meanwhile, the MoHP put on alert all the health desks at all the entry points and asked all health institutions to remain prepared to conduct necessary screening, monitoring, vigilance and preparedness. Nepal has recorded a total of 12019 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its major outbreak in April, 2020.