Highlights from today's Health Ministry media briefing

KATHMANDU: Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Dr Bikash Devkota, in his regular media briefing today, provided the latest COVID-19 related updates from across the country.

Speaking at the press briefing, Dr Devkota informed that Bir Hospital has started testing samples using real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine, from today.

As many as 4,426 samples have been tested in the country till date to detect the potential patients of the novel virus, the ministry confirmed, adding that 897 tests were added to the tally in the last 24 hours. Likewise, 3,392 samples have so far been tested at the National Public Health Laboratory in Teku and 609 tests were conducted there in the last 24 hours. The ministry stated that approximately 700 to 800 tests are being run in the country on a daily basis.

A total of 8,082 people have been kept in quarantine facilities throughout the country while 82 persons have been kept under isolation -- 15 in Kathmandu and 67 outside the valley.

With an aim to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infection, the government has supplied Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits to each of the seven provinces where sample testing have begun.

A mobile application named Hamro Swasthya and web portal covid.mohp.gov.np have been launched by the government to address public concerns regarding the COVID-19 infection, and have received a total of 666 entries in the last 24 hours.

The government-established helpline call-centre has received nearly 3,040 calls with COVID-19 queries in the last 24 hours.

Five new persons have been added to the red-zone list in the last 24 hours taking the total to 189 persons. The contact tracing of these persons is underway, said Devkota.

The ministry also updated the status of eight persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 infection and are under treatment, stating that health condition of the patients under isolation has been reported normal.

Spokesperson Devkota also took the opportunity to acknowledge the media for providing continuous information, lauding their credibility.

Moreover, Ministry of Health has urged people to follow social distancing protocol to combat possible spread of the coronavirus contagion whilst concerns on lifting the nationwide lockdown still looms -- one of the most frequently asked questions, according to Devkota.

VIDEO: Ministry of Health provides latest COVID-19 related updates