Nepal | October 21, 2020

Overnight wait for PCR test for scores

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Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital at Teku has been seeing a surge in the number of people visiting the hospital for polymerase chain reaction test.

The number of people visiting the hospital for the tests has drastically increased after the government allowed the operation of long-route vehicles from September 17.

Men sleeping outside Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital on Wednesday night, hoping to be the early bird in the queue for submitting swab samples in Teku, Kathmandu, in the wee hours of Thursday, September 24, 2020. Photo: Skanda Gautam / THT

A large number of people were sleeping on the lawns of the hospital, outside shuttered shops near the hospital and even on the pavement of the road leading to the hospital last night awaiting their turn for PCR test.

“Daily, more than 1,000 people visit the hospital to get themselves tested. About 70 per cent are from India — Bihar and Jharkhand. Nepalis from Tarai areas — Birgunj, Siraha, Rajbiraj and many other places — also visit. It has been difficult for us to manage the crowd here,” said Sagar Kumar Rajbhandari, director at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital.

“Landlords and employers in Kathmandu have started asking for PCR test reports. This is why people are here,” he added.

With the crowd growing by the day, the hospital authorities are finding it difficult to maintain social distance on the hospital premises.It poses a risk both to the visitors and the hospital staff. Chances of contracting the disease are high if a person stays in such a crowd,” said Anup Bastola, chief consultant tropical medicine and spokesperson for Sukraraj Hospital.

As the number of people visiting the hospital has increased, the hospital as ramped up testing.

“We have started taking 500 samples a day,” said Rajbhandari.

Earlier, the hospital was taking 250 samples. “Our staffers have started working 19 hours a day, as there is a rise in the number of people seeking test.

It has been a real challenge to maintain the crowd and work,” added Rajbhandari.

“The crowd in Sukraraj Hospital is rising. We have not been able to convince people that the same service is available in other government hospitals as well. We must divert the crowd. The local levels must convince people in their locality and manage health experts,” said Samir Kumar Adhikari, assistant spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population.

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