My Republica, March 03, 2020
KATHMANDU: One more COVID-19 case has been confirmed in Nepal on Thursday taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to six.
This was informed by the spokesman of the Ministry of Health and Population at a regular press briefing Thursday.
“The patient is a woman who arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on March 17 aboard the QR 652 flight from Doha,” said the ministry's spokesman Dr Bikas Devkota.
She is the third passenger testing positive for COVID-19 among the 158 passengers who landed in Nepal on March 17 via the Qatar Airways flight. Earlier, two patients — a girl from Kathmandu and another woman from Baglung — had tested positive for the coronavirus. This third passenger of the flight is also said to be from Baglung.
Police and health officials have been continuing contact tracing of those passengers in coordination with the local authorities.
“Contact tracing of the passengers of flight QR 652 is now almost complete,” said Devkota.Of the total six coronavirus positive patients one has already returned home after recovery while the others are still receiving treatment at various hospitals.Some fear that the actual number of coronavirus-infected people could be more than what the government has been claiming. Even as the government wants to test 20,000 people who returned to Nepal from overseas job or higher studies, it has so far tested only 1,184 samples.The government, however, has been expanding COVID-19 test facilities in the provincial level in recent days. It is speculated that the number of coronavirus-affected people could go up once these facilities begin testing more people.As of Thursday, testing of coronavirus has started in Dharan and Pokhara; the testing equipment have been installed in Butwal, Surkhet, Dhangadhi and Hetauda; and the testing equipment installation process has started in Janakpur. Nepal Army is also collecting swabs from COVID-19 suspects from the Army Hospital, Chhauni.The Army Hospital has so far collected swabs of seventeen persons, according to the spokesman of the Ministry of Health and Population.
Until a few days ago, only the National Public Health Laboratory would test the coronavirus suspects. Also, the medics have stopped using the recently procured Rapid Diagnostic Kits meant for COVID-19 tests after their quality was questioned by the World Health Organization.
As briefed by health spokesperson Devkota 115 persons -- 16 in Kathmandu and 99 in various provinces -- are currently placed in isolation on suspicion of COVID-19.