Kathmandu, May 14

The government today collected 600 nasal, throat swabs and blood samples from people working at Kalimati Vegetable and Fruit Market, one of the core business areas inside Kathmandu Valley, where thousands of people have been gathering each day even after the nationwide lockdown imposed to subdue the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health and Population, with the initiative of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, collected samples nearly after two months of the lockdown.

Fruits and vegetables transported from across the country and the neighbouring country are distributed from Kalimati Vegetables and Fruits Market. Hundreds of vendors supply fruits and vegetables to retailers from here.

Dhurba Narayan Manandhar, ward chairman of the locality, said around 4,000 to 5,000 people visit the market daily on an average.

Out of 600 samples collected today, only 200 of them will undergo the polymerase chain reaction test. The remaining 400 will undergo rapid diagnostic test.

Ward Chair Manandhar said, “People working in the market, who directly come in contact with people from outside and remain there will undergo the PCR test, while others who visit the place will be go through RDT.”

He added they would continue collecting samples from the market for the next two days. “We are planning to conduct tests of 1,000 people from here, but it might be more.”

Similarly, Dr Basudev Pandey, director of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, talking to media during sample collection, said they would collect swabs from people who continuously come in contact with other persons.

“People operating pharmaceutical shops, security personnel, journalists and local leaders and other people who generally come into contacts with others will be tested in the coming days.”


A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 15, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.