Nepal’s COVID count almost doubles in a single day

Kathmandu, April 17

Nepal saw the largest single-day spike in coronavirus cases, with 14 people testing positive for COVID-19 today, taking the countrywide count to 30. One person has recovered.

Of those testing positive today, 12 are Indian nationals who were staying in a mosque in Udaypur district, while two are from Chitwan district, according to the Ministry of Health and Population. All those testing positive in Udaypur are men aged between 20 and 40 years. They were putting up in Nuri mosque, according to District Administration Office, Udaypur.

A 63-year-old woman and her 27-year-old son, who had returned from the United Kingdom and were residing in Chitwan, also tested positive for COVID-19 today, said Basudev Pandey, director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Department of Health Services. The duo had reached Nepal on March 18 via Hong Kong.

The National Public Health Laboratory, which conducts the final test of coronavirus disease, has confirmed the results of all 14 people.

With the addition of these patients, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has surged to 30. The first COVID-19 case in Nepal was diagnosed in January and the patient has already recovered.

“Train tickets of those who tested positive in Udaypur show that they had come to Nepal from Delhi on December 10. They were living in the mosque for the past one month. They had come to Udaypur from Biratnagar and had also travelled to Sunsari and Saptari. We are trying to trace their contacts and obtain their travel history,” said Udaypur Chief District Officer Deepak Kumar Pahari.

Throat swabs of the Indian nationals were tested at Koshi Hospital and later sent to National Public Health Laboratory for confirmation. “All those who tested positive have been sent to Biratnagar-based corona special health facility,” said Laxmi Narayan Yadav, senior consultant physician at Koshi Hospital.

“Four Nepalis were living in the mosque with the 12 Indians, but they tested negative. They were living in close contact with the Indians and even shared food with them. The mosque and the area around it have been sealed. The four Nepalis have also been hospitalised,” said Pahari.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 18, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.