Samples collected for second time from quarantined Nepalis

Kathmandu, February 29

Nasal and throat swabs were collected for the second time from 175 Nepalis evacuated from China, currently quarantined at Nepal Electricity Authority Training Centre, Kharipati, today.

Samples were also collected from 18 persons — crew members and others who had gone to China to evacuate Nepalis. They are quarantined at National Water Supply and Sanitation Training Centre, Nagarkot.

“The samples have been brought to National Public Health Laboratory. The test reports will be given on Tuesday,” said Dr Runa Jha, director at NPHL. “Those under quarantine will be sent home if they test negative. If any of them have fever or respiratory problems they won’t be sent home,” Dr Jha added.

The government had airlifted 134 males and 41 females from Wuhan, Enshi, Shiyan, Yichang, Jingmen and Jingzhou of China on February 15. A chartered flight of Nepal Airlines had flown to Wuhan Tianhe International Airport to bring the Nepalis back home.

The first round of samples was collected on February 16. All the evacuees had tested negative for coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health and Population has said surveillance would be strengthened in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini. “These cities are tourist hubs and there is high risk of infection. We are working on strengthening the surveillance system in these cities,” said Dr Bikash Devkota, spokesperson for the health ministry.

“Surveillance must be done properly if we are to prevent coronavirus transmission. Daily reporting from hospitals and updated record keeping are necessary,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.

The ministry today sent a team of doctors to Tatopani and Rasuwagadi borders as these areas didn’t have doctors.

After many complaints, the Ministry of Health and Population today provided three infrared thermometers to measure body temperature of people entering Nepal from Tribhuvan International Airport. There are now six infrared thermometers at TIA.

However, the thermal scanner at TIA, which stopped working a few weeks ago, has not been repaired. “Decisions have been taken to maintain and purchase three more thermal scanners. It will take a week’s time,” said Dr Devkota.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today formed a high level committee to prevent and control the spread of covid-19. A meeting held today formed the committee with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Ishwor Pokhrel as co-ordinator.

The World Health Organisation said that some countries had not reported any case, but it didn’t mean those countries wouldn’t have cases of coronavirus.