Highlights from Health Ministry's media briefing

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), in its regular press briefing, shared the latest COVID-19 updates from across the country, as of today.

As many as 9,407 laboratory tests (through Polymerase Chain Reaction method) have been carried out in the country to detect COVID-19 infection in order to curb its spread.

It was made public that 38,099 Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) — to detect the presence of antibodies in the blood sample — have been run across the country, till date.

The total number of testing through PCR and RDT methods to scout the patients of COVID-19 infection has now reached 47,496 with 3,791 tests being run in the last 24 hours.

Spokesperson Devkota shared that the number of RDTs being carried out across the provinces is increasing by the hour. Listing the RDT numbers province-wise, he said, as per the data available, as many as 3,929 tests have been carried out in Province 1; 4,977 tests in Province 2; 7,143 in Bagmati Province; 4,783 in Gandaki Province; 2,874 in Province 5; 4,870 in Karnali Province; and 9,513 RDTs have been carried out in Sudurpaschim Province.

At present, there are 12,985 people under quarantine in various facilities across the country while 99 are under isolation. Among those isolated, three are in Kathmandu valley while the remaining 96 are outside.

The government-established helpline call-centres (1115/1133) have answered 1,708 queries regarding COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. Likewise, 24,926 entries have been made through the government’s mobile application Hamro Swasthya and web portal covid.mohp.gov.np until today. Of these, 1,324 entries were made in the last 24 hours, wherein people have filled in the self-evaluation form regarding their health condition.

Nine new persons have been added to the red-zone list in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of those in the red zone to 287. The contact tracing of those in the red zone is being carried out by the concerned authorities, said Spokesperson Devkota.

Dr Devkota also took this opportunity to explain the significance of the government initiated website and mobile application, sharing that it contained useful information related to the COVID-19 infection for the public perusal.

It was informed at the media briefing that a medical team comprising of three members including a public health officer, a medic to handle the laboratory equipment and a nurse or a paramedic has been formed and will be deployed at local level to ease the testing and tracing of COVID-19 infection. The teams will be mobilised in each of the  Rural Municipalities (1 team), Municipalities (2 teams), Sub Municipalities (3 teams) and Metropolitans (5 teams).

Under joint efforts of the Provincial laboratory of Province 1 and Udaypur district Health Office, 78 samples of throat swab have been collected from Triyuga and Chaudandigadhi Municipality in the district which have been sent to Biratnagar-based Koshi hospital for PCR testing.

Similarly, in a bid to collect and test more samples to detect cases of COVID-19 infection in Province 2 teams have been deployed across districts in the Province aiming to collect more than 1500 samples of throat swab from 27 different places of the province.

In grim milestone, as of today the country has witnessed 48 cases of the coronavirus infection of which 10 have also reported recovery, adding a glimmer of hope as the nation grapples with the coronavirus crisis.

The Ministry today shared additional information on a coronavirus patient who tested positive for the infection yesterday.

A 26-year-old man of Bhojpur who tested positive for the infection in PCR test at the Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) had returned to Nepal from Saudi Arabia on April 12 boarding a Himalayan airlines flight. Thereafter, he journeyed from Kathmandu to Udaypur and finally to Bhojpur. The contact tracing of the man in Udaypur district has been completed and so has the collection of their samples for testing. It was learnt that the person had tested positive for the presence of antibodies while running RDT in Bhojpur district.

Preparations are underway to transfer the patient to the Biratnagar-based Koshi Hospital.

38 persons are currently receiving treatment at various health facilities across the country —one in Baglung, one in Dhangadhi, five in Birgunj, two in Bharatpur, and 28 at the Koshi Hospital.

All of the patients have been reported to be in normal health condition without any complications.

Dr Devkota responded to queries regarding the increase of people across quarantine facilities in the country, citing that those who have recently travelled amid lockdown either from Kathmandu or other places have been kept in quarantine facilities by the local authorities.

Dr Devkota, speaking on behalf of the ministry, also appealed to the public to not panic regarding the rumors of increased prices of pharmaceuticals, assuring that no price hike has been granted by the government. Furthermore, strict monitoring during times of crisis to stop black marketing of essentials by taking stringent measures against those found guilty, has been assured by the government to the public.

The chief of the Muslim commission too addressed the media briefing encouraging Islam followers to observe the holy month of Ramadan at homes. It was also learnt that commission in coordination with the District Administration Office (DAO) and MoHP will falicitate quarantine for mosque clerics and madrassa teachers.