KATHMANDU: While International Nurses Day is being celebrated across the globe acknowledging nurses’ critical role in healthcare, one of the nurses working in Kapilvastu Hospital, Taulihawa, tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday. This is the first case in the country when a health worker has tested positive for the virus. She is among eight persons who tested positive in Kapilvastu.

“The 25-year-old nurse is a resident of Ward No 5 of Taulihawa. She used to go to the hospital from her home and return after finishing her duty,” said Ganesh Nepali, assistant chief district officer at the District Administration Office, Kapilvastu.

“Throat and nasal swabs of five of our health workers — two doctors, two nurses and an emergency in-charge — were collected four days ago. Since people from India have been crossing over clandestinely into Nepal and the hospital is near the (Nepal-India) border, we thought health workers faced risk of contracting COVID-19. We don’t want infected health workers to come in contact with patients unknowingly,” said Ratnakar Shukla, hospital manager at Kapilvastu Hospital. Health workers come in contact with up to 500 patients at the hospital daily.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, more than 32,000 health professionals, including doctors, nurses and other health staff, have been working in government hospitals and health centres across the country.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 12, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.