BIRGUNJ, April 13: Three Indian nationals, who had entered Nepal defying the nationwide lockdown enforced by both the countries, have tested positive for coronavirus. Tests conducted at the Kathmandu-based National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) confirmed the results.
According to Mayor of Birgunj, Bijaya Kumar Sarawagi, the three Indian nationals had entered to Nepal some 17 days ago. “It is yet to be known how they [three Indians] managed to enter Nepal defying the lockdown enforced by the government. The local administration is investigating into the incident,” the mayor told Republica.
During a regular press briefing held in the capital on Sunday, Dr Bikash Devkota, spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population, confirmed that the swab samples of the three Indian nationals have tested positive for coronavirus at Teku-based NPHL.
“The three Indian nationals were staying at a Muslim orphanage in Birgunj Metropolitan City-2. Of the 21 individuals staying at the orphanage, swab samples of three Indian nationals turned out positive,” said Dr Devkota, adding that all of them [infected patients] are males.
The infected patients are of 37 years, 44 years, and 55 years.
It has been learnt that at least 21 Indian nationals had entered Nepal during the lockdown to join a Muslim convention that saw participation of thousands of Muslims.
Currently, they [three Indians] have been admitted to the isolation ward of the Parsa-based Narayani Hospital.
Though the government confirmed that their swab samples tested positive only on Sunday evening, the Province 3 government confirmed that the Hetauda-based Vector Borne Disease Research and Training Center had already tested the samples positive on Friday evening.
“As the Hetauda-based laboratory had handled COVID-19 case for the first time, the swab samples were sent to Kathmandu for further confirmation,” a Province 3 minister told Republica on condition of anonymity.
The swab samples of the three Indians tested positive for two times through the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method in the Hetauda-based laboratory.
After the reports of three individuals came positive, other 17 Indians have been sent to a quarantine facility in Siddhartha Higher Secondary School. A team of police from the District Police Office, Parsa took them under control and sent them to the quarantine facility. According to police, the Muslims had arrived in Nepal from Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
In the meantime, the ministry said that a team has been sent to Birgunj to trace the contacts of the individuals, who had met the infected Indian nationals.
With the confirmation of three new cases, the number of COVID-19 infection has reached 12 in Nepal. Of the 12 cases, a China-returnee Nepali student has already recovered from the disease which has claimed more than 110,000 people across the world and infected over 1.7 million people. The pandemic has spread to 210 countries across the globe. In Nepal, the active cases of COVID-19 stands at 11.