Woman, son test positive for COVID-19

Kathmandu, April 14

Two more people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease in Nepal, taking the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 16.

An 81-year-old woman and her son, 58, who were confirmed coronavirus patients today, lived in Sun City Apartments at Pepsicola in Kathmandu.

Three members of a family, including the woman, her son and his wife were admitted to the isolation ward of Patan Hospital yesterday after they tested positive for the disease during rapid diagnostic tests performed on them.

Their throat swabs were then sent to the National Public Health Laboratory, where polymerase chain reaction method was used to confirm the results of rapid diagnostic tests. The PCR tests generated positive result for the 81-year-old woman and her son, while the result of her daughter-in-law is awaited, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.

“The sample of the daughter-in-law has been recollected and sent to NPHL. All members of the family are asymptomatic,” said Bishnu Prasad Sharma, director of Patan Hospital.

The three had returned from the United Kingdom via Qatar on March 18. They had taken QR 644 flight of Qatar Airways.

“We have started tracing people with whom the three have come into contact. We have also begun testing residents of Sun City Apartments,” said Bikash Devkota, spokesperson for the health ministry.

There are five blocks in Sun City Apartments, which house 475 families. “As many as 1,800 people live in these blocks,” said Puskar Regmi, acting president of the Sun City Housing Welfare Society.

The housing welfare society had conducted its election on March 21 to elect new office members. “One of the persons from the family is likely to have cast the ballot,” said a member of the society on condition of anonymity. A total of 246 persons, of the 285 registered members, had taken part in the election. “Two police officials had also been deployed for security. The election was conducted in a hall,” said the source. The government has now sealed the apartment buildings.

Nepal reported its first COVID-19 case on January 23 after a 32-year-old man, who had returned from Wuhan, China, tested positive for the disease. He has since recovered. Nepal currently has 15 active COVID-19 cases.

These patients are undergoing treatment at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Kathmandu, Dhaulagiri Zonal Hospital, Seti Provincial Hospital, Narayani Sub-Regional Hospital and Patan Hospital.

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