Coronavirus — 232 New Cases, 2 New Deaths in Nepal

  • Dr Jageshwar Gautam, 272 infected people have returned home free of the virus in the last 24 hours.
  • Government officials say the number of infected people has risen as tests in quarantine have been stepped up.
  • The government had announced a plan to increase the scope of PCR testing to 10,000 per day by July 30.

Another 232 people were confirmed to be infected with coronavirus in Nepal on Saturday, and two died, according to the Ministry of Health and Population. The deceased have been identified as a 44-year-old man from Gorkha and a 75-year-old man from Rupandehi.

The first case of COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed in Nepal on 23 January 2020 when a 31-year-old student, who had returned to Kathmandu from Wuhan on 9 January, tested positive for the disease. A total of 15,491 cases have been confirmed as of 3 July 2020, affecting all seven provinces and 77 administrative districts. 6,415 of them have recovered, while 34 have died.

At the same time, the number of infected people in Nepal has reached 15,491. Of them, 6,415 have recovered and 34 died, according to the Ministry. According to Health Ministry spokesperson Dr Jageshwar Gautam, 272 infected people have returned home free of the virus in the last 24 hours. According to the Ministry, a maximum of 740 people had been infected on Friday.

A 44-year-old man from Palungtar Municipality of Gorkha, who returned to Nepal from Qatar on July 3, died in isolation at Gorkha Hospital at 5 AM on Saturday. When he returned, he stayed in the quarantine and was found to be infected in the test on the 18th of June, Gautam said. He was also chronically ill, Gautam explained.

Similarly, a 75-year-old man from Devadaha Municipality of Rupandehi District has been diagnosed with coronavirus infection after his death at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital. A tuberculosis patient who was admitted to the teaching hospital on July 29 died on July 30, Gautam said.

COVID-19 Reaches all 77 Districts

In the last 24 hours, 4,050 people underwent PCR tests, and the total number of tests reached 246,297. The number of infected people in isolation is 9,042. There are 33,125 people in quarantine in different districts. Most of them have returned from India. Government officials say the number of infected people has risen as tests in quarantine have been stepped up.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample, allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail. Viral DNA can be detected by PCR, for example, a variant of PCR (RT-PCR) is used for detecting Sars-Cov-2 viral genome.

Plan to Test 10,000 PCRs per day Fails

The government had announced a plan to increase the scope of PCR testing to 10,000 per day by July 30. However, the Ministry of Health and Population said there was no immediate need for such tests. Gautam said that 6,000 tests are being conducted every day for a few weeks.

At one time, there were about 200,000 people in quarantine across the country. However, now the number has come down to around 60,000, and some samples have been collected, so there is no need to increase the scope of testing, he said.

“Now only contact tracing will have to be done. Even the existing laboratories will not be able to run at full capacity,” he said. “In the current situation, we don’t have to reach 10,000 per day. If necessary, we will act accordingly. The test also costs the state money. A single test costs between Rs 5,000. Why spend so much? That’s why we don’t put so much emphasis on it.”

“Although there is no need to increase the number and scope of tests, for the time being, it has been decided to add 10 more laboratories but there is no rush in that,” says Gautam. At present, there are 23 PCR testing laboratories in different parts of Nepal.

Similarly, the government says that 200,000 test kits have been used so far, and they have 400,000 test kits left as per the target of testing 600,000.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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