5 test positive: 2 for virus, 3 for antibodies

Kathmandu, April 13

A 62-year-old woman from Kailali and a 19-year-old boy from Rautahat tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease today.

The woman had reached Kailali from Birgunj along with 16 others and had been under quarantine in Lamki Multiple Campus in Lamkichuha Municipality of Kailali district for the past 15 days.

She was admitted to the isolation ward of Seti Provincial Hospital after she tested positive for the virus today.

The teenager was in quarantine earlier and arrangements are being made to bring him to a hospital.

The blood samples and swabs of the two were tested in National Public Health Laboratory, Teku, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.

The authorities concerned have begun tracing contacts of the two, according to Bikash Devkota, spokesperson for the health ministry.

The 62-year-old woman had tested negative in rapid diagnostic test, but her throat swab tested positive for COVID-19 in the polymerase chain reaction test.

Since it takes at least eight to ten days for antibodies to develop, an asymptomatic person may test negative in rapid diagnostic test. Even if a person tests negative in RDT s/he should stay in quarantine. The RDT test should be conducted twice after a gap of one week,” said Shravan Kumar Mishra, virologist at National Public Health Laboratory.

“We have been collecting throat swabs of patients suspected to have contracted the virus even if they test negative in RDT,” said Khem Bahadur Karki, consultant at the health ministry.

“The case of the 62-year-old woman shows that 14 days of quarantine are not enough. The people must stay in quarantine for at least 21 days. It also shows that local level authorities are sending persons home if they don’t have any symptoms. Local level authorities should ensure that those quarantined should stay there for 21 days,” said Karki.

With this, the total number of COVID-19 positive cases in the country has reached 14. Three persons living in a mosque in Birgunj tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday.

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, while other positive patients are undergoing treatment in hospitals across Nepal.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 14, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.