KATHMANDU, April 5: Ministry of Health and Population is all set to start rapid diagnostic test (RDT) in two districts of Sudur Paschim Province and Baglung of Gandaki Province in an attempt to intensify tests to novel coronavirus.
Speaking at a routine press briefing by the MOHP, spokesperson Dr Bikash Devkota said that RDT would be followed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for confirmation if initial test through RDT turns out positive.
The ministry's move comes a day after the meeting of the cabinet instructed to intensify testing after two India returnees and a relative of fourth confirmed COVID-19 patient tested positive for this deadly disease on Saturday. On the same day, Nepal had also reported the first locally transmitted case for this virus.
According to the new strategy, all the people in quarantine in Kailai and Kanchanpur, relatives and other persons who had been contacts with COVID-19 patients and all the people who arrived in Nepal from foreign countries March 14 onwards in all three districts will be tested.
He also informed that Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, National Public Health Laboratory and National Health Research Council had a joint meeting today to implement the instruction. “A team of concerned authorities was oriented on this and then moved towards the field,” he added.
On the occasion, he also informed that a total of 1529 tests have been done so far at the central laboratory. He further added, “Testing has also begun in Chitwan out of the valley from today. Earlier, testing had already started in Dharan, Janakpur, Hetauda, Pokhara, Surkhet and Dhangadi.”
Meanwhile, lab test has begun in Butwal earlier on Sunday evening, Social Development Minister of Province 5 Sudarshan Baral informed through his Facebook post.
MoHP spokesperson Dr Devkota also informed that 12 suspected patients are under isolation wards in Kathmandu while there are 101 suspected patients in various parts of the country.
“94 persons who are in quarantine in Kharipati, Bhaktapur have tested negative for the coronavirus,” he added.
Similarly, a total of 2766 calls were attended by the call centers set up by the ministry in the last 24 hours while 1812 self-evaluation entries were received through its website and mobile app. Of them, 24 new are classified under ‘red zone’. “The number of persons in the red zone has climbed to 150, and we are contacting them,” Dr Devkota added.