Highlights from today's COVID-19 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 7,688 laboratory tests (through Polymerase Chain Reaction method) have been conducted so far in the country to detect COVID-19 infection in order to curb its spread.

Similarly, 16,565 Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) -- to detect the presence of antibodies in the blood sample -- have been run across the country, as of today.

Spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population Dr Bikash Devkota shared that a total of 24,253 tests have been conducted so far to scout those infected with the novel virus and 4,822 of these were conducted in the last 24 hours.

RDT has begun in 75 districts across the seven provinces. The government is yet to begin this form of testing in two districts only -- Solukhumbu and Dolpa.

As of today, there are 4,607 people under quarantine in various facilities across the country while 90 are under isolation. Among those isolated, five are in Kathmandu valley while the remaining 85 are outside. As the government has intensified the tests, the number of people in quarantine are declining.

The government-established helpline call-centres (1115/1133) have answered 2,632 queries regarding COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. Likewise, 18,208 entries have been made through the government’s mobile application Hamro Swasthya and web portal covid.mohp.gov.np until today. Of these, 578 entries were made in the last 24 hours.

Sharing the growing popularity of the website and mobile application amongst the public, the Ministry also informed that as many as 510,818 have accessed the government website and 55,230 persons have used the mobile application until today.

Only two 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 251. The contact tracing of these persons is underway, said Spokesperson Devkota.

Dr Devkota informed that more than 30,000 additional RDT kits have been provided in total to the provinces. Prior to this, each province was given 5,000 kits each. With this the total kits provided across the seven provinces would add up to over 65,000.

A PCR machine was installed at Lalitpur-based Patan Hospital. With this, 14 places across the country are equipped to carry out PCR testing.

In a attempt to increase human resources to combat the COVID-19 crisis in Sudurpaschim Province, 34 medics have been mobilised across various hospitals in the province through the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers. A chartered flight took them to Dhangadhi today itself. They will be stationed there for one month and if needed the duration would be extended.

RDT tests are being carried out in various districts where some tested positive for antibodies. For those testing positive for antibodies on RDT, PCR tests have been carried out. So far, those testing positive on RDT have tested negative on PCR while some tests are underway.

Currently, there are 15 active COVID-19 cases in the country — 2 in Lalitpur, 2 in Kathmandu, 2 in Baglung, 5 in Dhangadhi, and 4 in Birgunj. All of the patients have been reported in normal condition.

Spokesperson Devkota concluded the press briefing by requesting health facilities in all local levels across the country to continue providing the basic government health services including immunization, safe motherhood, new-born care, safe abortion, family planning, treatment for tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, among others. He further requested that while doing so they maintain adequate physical distancing.

VIDEO: Health Ministry’s regular media briefing on COVID-19